Sculpture Concept: It Starts With an Idea

As ever, the project starts with empty space, and an idea...

An empty workspace...but not for long!

Before I can start on the figure, I need to make the base. In this case, the figure will be sitting on a reproduction of a Central Park style bronze bench, from around 1850. It is a mix of the traditional design, and the benches I've seen in pictures of Battery Park in Newport, RI, from the time.

I want the bench to match the figure in terms of texture and patina, so I have to make it from scratch.

Online provided a lot of images and dimensions to work from. So, after a lot of math and scaling things in Photoshop, I knew what I would need in wood to make the bench's skeleton. I had to reduce the thicknesses of the actual slats and framing in wood, so I would be able to add a thickness of wax over the entire surface to model the texture I wanted.

All the pieces have to be made separately so they can be dismantled for casting at the foundry.

Reference photos are very important when it comes to getting things scaled correctly.

Final measurements are taken...and it's onto the next step!

A thick layer of wax must be coated over the entire surface for texture.

Bench parts must be cast separately.

I could not find the right brackets for the benches, and had to make them in a 3D CAD program to be able to 3D print.

Special, perfectly fit brackets are 3D printed for this sculpture.

These brackets are then adhered to the bench and left to dry.

The base the bench sits on is the thickness of the stone curb at the statue site. It is raised on 4 inch wheels, to help me move it around as I work. I cut a large notch out, after working around it for a while, to make it easier to get close to the piece.

Once the brackets dry, we're ready to move on!

This steel plate will bear a majority of the statue's weight.

The bench itself, when cast in bronze, will be welded together, and very strong. This wood and wax bench is not very strong at all, and barely held together with small screws. It can't support the weight of anyone or anything sitting on it. Because of this, the steel skeleton armature, and wax figure will be designed to hover over the bench, welded to the 1/4 inch thick steel plate seen in the last picture.

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