Lost-wax casting in bronze with Abigail Burt

Modelling, casting and other techniques

Ref: S5D12585

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About this course

Learn about the art of lost-wax casting through wax sculpting, mould-making, a bronze pour and the basics of metal chasing and patination.

Course Description

The art of lost-wax casting has existed for thousands of years, the principal method the same, the materials varying over time and across continents. In this course you will be introduced to the basics of bronze casting using the lost-wax method.

The course will begin with a short presentation on lost-wax casting, so that you can be working with an understanding of the global and historical context of the craft.

You will then commence wax sculpting. You will be given 200g of natural modelling wax,  using locally sourced beeswax. With this, the tutor will guide you to sculpt whatever you desire on a hand-held scale. The possibilities are vast. Lost-wax casting  is a technique used diversely, from sculpture, to jewellery, to engineering, to household functional objects, and your tutor is enthusiastic to help you to create something specific to you.

You will learn and participate in mould-making using the ceramic shell process. The tutor will fire up her portable furnace on day 4, and you will watch your pieces be cast in bronze. On the final day of the course you will be introduced to the basics of metal chasing and patination.

Course learning outcomes:

•  Through the course you will learn an array of basic techniques for wax-sculpting. You will understand the use of wax sculpting within the context of lost-wax casting, as well as a ground knowledge of the whole process of metal casting, through a light introduction to the global and historical culture of lost-wax casting.

•  You will be given enough methods and understanding so that you will know what you need, and be comfortable to continue wax-sculpting on your own accord following the course. The tutor is an advocate of making methods accessible, and will emphasise the possibility of sculpting easily from the home.

•  You will leave having participated in and watched the whole lost-wax bronze casting process, from wax to bronze. You will therefore leave with a good understanding of how lost-wax cast objects have been fabricated. 

Timetable

Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

Included

On this course the College will supply most of the materials including bronze, slurry, silica, chemicals and fuel costs.
Natural modelling wax will be provided made by the tutor. 

What students need to bring

Ideas for your project, sketchbooks and pencils.
You can bring an existing wax piece to cast however you must contact your tutor in advance to discuss this see below. 

Available to buy

Available from shop:
A good selection of art materials

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals). Safety boots if possible. Bronze casting requires safety equipment such as eye shields and these will be provided.

Please contact the tutor via the bookings office on bookingoffice@westdean.ac.uk. to discuss your ideas for your piece ahead of time. You can bring an existing wax piece to cast however you must contact your tutor in advance to discuss this. It will need to be:
a) purely wax or materials that can burn away
b) be suitable size for this short course.

Please note: Your workshop will be in the Sculpture Courtyard which is a 10-minute walk from the main house through the walled garden or can be accessed by car. The Sculpture Courtyard is open on one side so be prepared for any type of weather. Morning coffee and afternoon tea will be held in the nearby Carrington Studio.  You will return to the main house for lunch.

Tutors

Abigail Burt

Abigail Burt is a Royal College of Art Sculpture MA 2020 graduate. Her artist practice considers our connection with our environment, with an emphasis on ecological awareness and public participation. In 2019 she founded Kinstinct Arts, an arts and ecology platform, from which she is currently running the project Lost-Wax for Lost-Species. 

Accommodation

Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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