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 Post subject: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2000 7:02 pm 
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Location: Australia
Image <BR>our member Maggie Parker's lovely "To the Light" sculpture, courtesy of the sculpture showcase: i think it's worth repeating this particular image.<P>this is the 2nd dance sculpture thread. there are some great pics in the 1st Dance Sculpture thread, so DO have a look. it's at <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000028.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000028.html</A> <BR>i closed it because, being picture-intensive, i was worried about page-loading times on some computers. please do let us know, by email or on the board, if you are having any trouble with that issue: thanks!<P>azlan had asked "You also mentioned resin vs bronze sculptures. Can I ask you how many different types of materials and/or methods are used in sculpting? What are the relative differences between them?"<P>and i would like to know, in very simple terms, what the term 'lost wax' actually means? thanks in advance, Maggie! Image<BR>

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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2000 4:40 am 
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Thank-you, Grace. There are a few materials being used in molded sculpture. Resin being one of them. You can sometimes find figurines made of resin in gift shops. Remember the angel craze? quite a few of the (painted) figurines of angels were cast resin. Resin can be painted to resemble bronze. Some resin has bronze or other metal particles mixed in to react with chemicals that give bronze it's various patinas. Other materials are hydrostone and forton, which are high-tech mixes of....stuff, and acrylic. <BR>The lost wax process, which is used in bronze casting, was discovered by the Chinese. Before that bronze was hammered. Bronze casting is very involved and labor intensive, so I'll try and give you the very short version.<BR>The sculpture is created by the artist, usually of clay. A mold is made on the clay original which gets destroyed in the process. Melted wax is poured into the mold and removed when hardened. The wax is "cleaned up," seam lines removed, etc. Channels are attached in wax to allow air and the wax to escape in the metal pouring. This wax with channels is covered with a slurry that hardens into a ceramic type shell, which is then heated to a high temperature, and the wax melts out and is "lost." Hence, the lost wax method. The molten bronze is poured into this ceramic shell, and cooled. The shell is broken off, and the metal goes through another cleaning up process and the patina chemicals are applied, and you have a sculpture in bronze. Bronze will always be the highest quality of cast sculpture in the fine art world.<P>[This message has been edited by Maggie (edited May 13, 2000).]<p>[This message has been edited by Maggie (edited May 14, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2000 9:16 am 
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Wow. Thanks, Maggie, for that concise but educational explanation.<P>And now another question. Is bronze inherently weather-proofed or must something be added to it to make it withstand the rigours of the outdoors?<P>Also, how do you began your projects? Do you have dancers pose for you? Do you sketch them first?


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2000 4:33 am 
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Azlan, bronze is a porous metal, therefore is not truly weatherproof, although durable. Pieces are generally coated with an epoxy resin, or Incralac. Outdoor sculptures need to be maintained. This is done by professional cleaning with a mild soap and water and soft brushes and rags, followed by a re-waxing out of the sun. Not unlike caring for a car! It should be done about 4 times a year.<BR> <BR>When I create a sculpture, several factors are involved. I often see dancers in rehearsal (being a former dancer, I often get access to rehearsals, and studios.) or performance that inspire me. My knowledge of dance is extremely helpful here. I'll see a movement within the choreography I like, and later I can tell the dancer what it was so she can reproduce it. I take several photos from different angles, done while the dancer is moving through the sequence. I try to avoid static, standing poses in most cases because they have a tendency to become somewhat lifeless without the flow of steps that come both before and after the particular movement I want to use. It becomes "out of context" so to speak. My biggest challenge, and driving force is to capture the emotion in the movement, not just the choreographic intention, but the dancer's own emotion, also.<P>The artisans that work at the foundry on my pieces during the casting process have learned a lot about dance. They were quite intrigued with the design of a point shoe, in particular the flat shape of the toe. They've become very interested in some of the anatomical anomalies of dancers, and ask questions about why things look the way they do. I greatly enjoy sharing with them these details, and they are able to better work on my pieces in the process.<p>[This message has been edited by Maggie (edited May 14, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2000 1:38 pm 
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Maggie, thanks again for an insightful response.<P>The idea of capturing both the emotion and motion of dancers and avoiding "static" strikes a chord in me. I have seen too many photos (and admittedly few sculptures) that look stylish and exhibit a high quality at first glance but seem lifeless upon further inspection. I think this is what happens when you have a photographer who may be technically competent but who does not understand dance or art for that matter; they tend to shoot photos of dancers in still positions instead of in action.<P>Sometimes they try to make up for it by shooting dancers in motion but, not understanding the human body in motion, they more often than not end up with shots of dancers in weird, ugly poses. I have seen beautiful dancers looking awful in photos with weird dangly legs or arms in awkward angles.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited May 14, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2000 3:38 am 
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oh boy: now i am completely confused! nothing wrong with your explanation, maggie, i'm just too tired to take my brain thru all those stages of casting in bronze! <P>a few questions:<P>1. i assume it breaks your heart every time to take the risk of covering up your beautifully worked CLAY sculpture - which is about to be destroyed?<P>2. you mean, don't you, that you made a CLAY sculpture of that lady in "To the Light", as part of the process, and that the clay sculpture was destroyed in the process?<P>3. you wrote about the need for "a re-waxing out of the sun" - how do they do this with sculptures in a park - like life-sized ones (and bigger)?...come to think of it, maybe getting 'out of the sun' is only a problem in australia! Image<P>4. so i guess all these stages, and the work involved in each, helps to explain the high prices. does it also mean that true lost wax bronzes are 'one-offs' or can multiple copies be made?<P>5. finally, you mention the artisans at the foundry: what do THEY actually do in the process? <P>gosh i'm missing those photos: that first sculpture thread was MUCH easier on the brain! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2000 4:13 am 
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These are very good questions, Grace.The clay original is sculpted from an oil-based clay which doesn't harden, so it tends to be impermanent anyway. I don't mind that the original gets destroyed because the bronze is the permanent result.<BR>Artists choose to do "editions" of a sculpture. For example, I do an edition 15 to 30 of a particular piece. I cast them on an "as requested" basis. I cast enough to supply the galleries with one, and cast others of the edition as they sell, or when an individual orders one. When the edition is fully cast, the mold is destroyed so that no others can be made. "To the Light," for example is an edition of 30. 20 have sold, so there are 10 left available. Occasionally an artist will do one only. This would be a very special piece, usually commissioned by someone of a specific subject, and quite costly, unless the commissioner agrees to an edition that the artist can sell.<BR>Maintaining an outdoor sculpture by waxing it, like a car, can be done after the sun sets, I suppose, or a tent cover can be erected.<BR>The artisans in the foundry "chase" or clean the poured wax that looks like the original work. They remove the seam lines created by the mold, and other imperfections, so it looks like the original. In the poured bronze, they do the same thing, welding parts, and polishing. There are many other departments doing other things, including actually pouring the molten bronze, but these are two of the more important to the look of the piece. Sorry this got long, but I kept it as brief as I could.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2000 7:05 pm 
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Maggie~<P>Could you maybe post some of the questions the artisans at the foundry have about dancers and their bodies~~if you think we'd find them interesting? I'd really like to see what people from the 'outside' think about us dancers Image! <P>(Among the questions I've had are: "What's wrong with your feet?"~~regarding my high arches and the tendency of my feet to stay fairly pointed even when relaxed, and "Why is your back so straight?" Image)<P>------------------<BR>~Intuviel~

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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2000 5:34 pm 
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maggie: the idea of destroying the mould is just TOO awful!<P>can i be awfully cheeky and actually ask what sort of price the lovely lady above sells for? (sorry - i'm never going to be able to afford one, whatever the answer is!)<P>thanks for your explanations: of COURSE: a TENT!

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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2000 4:35 am 
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Intuviel, they do ask questions about the feet when I sculpt them in pointe shoes. They want to know how the shoes work to help dancers stand on their toes. They wanted to change the flatness of the box, thinking it was a mistake in the molding, to a pointier shape until I explained that the box of the shoe was flat, and why. People who don't understand dance often sculpt a dancer on pointe making the feet look lifeless, sort of like they had someone untrained put on a pointe shoe and demonstrate for them. They end up sculpting that look without the development of the foot from years of training. The people at the foundry also like to know what some of the more interesting positions are called, i.e. arabesque, attitude, and so forth. They are intrigued by the extreme, or refinement of the body. For example, the difference between a "civilian" holding a tendu position, and how that looks, compared to a dancer.<BR>Grace, *I* can't even afford my own sculptures.LOL! That lady called "To the Light" at the top of the page sells for $3100. (That's U.S.) She's 23 inches tall.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2000 5:00 am 
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thanks maggie. at 23" she's a lot taller than i expected: she must look quite magnificent. wouldn't she be nice on a column of about 1 metre? (bringing her up to people-height)<P>where do most people put them - do you know?

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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2000 6:04 am 
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Grace, they put them on tables, mantels, in niches, on pedestals. Some people have pedestals made the way they want for their sculptures.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2000 4:47 pm 
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Grace, et al, at long last, except for some minor adjustments, my web-page is (nearly) complete. Visitors welcome! <A HREF="http://www.maggieparkersculpture.com" TARGET=_blank>www.maggieparkersculpture.com</A>


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 Post subject: Re: Dance Sculpture (#2 thread)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2000 10:02 pm 
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Please see new thread for Maggie Parker's website in detail!<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000078.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000078.html</A> <P>Thanks, Maggie Image

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