Devin is often asked “How are these bronze sculptures made?”
For Devin, it all starts with a vision, an idea, or a commission request from one of his clients. Once he has an idea for a piece he wants to create, he gets to work in his studio, where the piece will be completed out of a combination of oil-based clay and wax. Devin first starts forming a rough piece out of the clay to get the desired size and position. The next step is to get as much realistic details into the piece as possible. Once the main subject is completed to his satisfaction he begins working on the surrounding details that bring more life to the piece and help tell the story.
Once the bronze is completed in clay, Devin takes the sculpture to one of the bronze foundries he works with. The process for turning the clay creation into a timeless bronze piece of art is called the “lost-wax casting” method. It is a complex process that has been used for thousands of years and it can take up to 4 months for the completion of one piece.
Once the clay model is finished, the next step is to make a ‘mother mold’ of the creation so that multiple editions can be cast. The sculpture is first cut into several manageable pieces and then a rubber latex coating is brushed onto each section to a desired thickness. Once this dries, an outer mold, called the ‘mother mold,’ is made by applying plaster or fiberglass to the outside of the rubber latex mold. The plaster supports the rubber mold and makes it durable for multiple uses. Once the outer mold is complete, the layers of rubber latex and plaster are separated and the original clay sculpture is removed from the latex coating. Next the latex and plaster molds are fitted back together, and through an opening at the top of the mold, hot wax is poured into the mold. Once the wax dries, the two outer molds are again removed, leaving a perfect wax replica of that section of the sculpture. This process is the beginning of the creation of each piece in the edition.
The wax pieces are then coated in multiple layers of a porcelain liquid slurry. When the porcelain dries, the pieces are put into a kiln where the hot wax is burnt out of the porcelain leaving another perfect reverse replica mold of that section of the original sculpture. At over 2,800 degrees, molten bronze is poured into the porcelain mold and allowed to cool. Once cooled, the porcelain outer mold is chipped and sand-blasted away, leaving a bronze version of that section of the piece. All sections of the sculpture are then welded back together. And through a process called “chasing,” the details are etched back into the sculpture where the weld marks were created. Once this process is complete, a bronze replica of the artist’s original clay sculpture comes to life.
The last step in the process of creating these individual works of art is the “patina process”. By applying combinations of variable temperatures and different acids, the color (or patina) is applied to the bronze sculpture. Today, the color and finish options are unlimited. This process is unique to each piece that is created and is often customized to suit a collector. Finally, a polishing wax is usually applied to the piece to seal in the patina and give the piece its beautiful luster and shine.