The Lost Wax Process
An Overview with Constance Pach
A Seven-Thousand-Year Tradition in Casting Bronze: The Lost Wax Process
As the early cave men discovered, when copper is thrown into a fire, it melts and can be made into shapes. Then some time between 3000-4000 B.C. a small miracle happened: tin was mixed with the copper and the resultant hybrid was stronger than either metal alone. The Bronze Age commenced with this discovery.
Modern methods employ the techniques that have been used for millennia in creating metal sculptures, although new materials have been introduced to perfect the lost wax process.
Why does Constance Pach want to undertake the demanding process of having her sculpture cast in bronze? "A question I often ask myself …My answer – there are other mediums such as wood, clay, welded metals or stone that I work with that are better suited to some forms of expression. But bronze is a medium of the ages, a medium that has a long history in the making of sculptural art. A bronze sculpture has an inner depth and glow, an aura of its own not found elsewhere."
The Lost Wax Process: An Overview of the Technique
The making of The Avon Boy by Constance Pach, commissioned by Avon Old Farms Schools, 1987
- Create Clay Original
- Coat clay with rubber to form mold; open mold and remove clay original
- Pour wax into rubber mold; remove hardened wax and correct/refine details
- Dip wax into silica slurry or ceramic to form mold ("invest the wax")
- Kiln-fire to harden investment (mold) and melt out wax (the "lost wax" process)
- Pour molten bronze into the investment where wax was "lost"
- Chip off investment, remove sprue system and clean up surface ("chase" the bronze casting)
- Heat bronze and treat with chemicals to obtain desired color and finish (patina)
- Mount on base
"It is important for me to express to you how much I truly enjoy Avon Boy. He is a masterpiece. I have seen art the world over, much of it the world-renowned variety of museums and art galleries. Nothing, with the exception of two statues at Princeton University and Viegland Park, compares with Avon Boy, in my humble opinion. He is spectacular…I am thrilled that I can look out my window and see him."
-George M. Trautman, Headmaster Avon Old Farms School, CT