Bronze casting is a scorching affair at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, Washington and an important part of the Seattle art scene.
Pratt Fine Arts is one of the few facilities where artists can learn how to pour bronze independently, without having to go to a college.
Pratt Fine Arts instructor, Jeanne Marie Ferraro, talks to us about the process of pouring bronze during the REFRACT Seattle Glass Experience held annually in October. Check for the dates of REFRACT 2022.
Watch the video below to see the bronze pouring demonstration.
The students shown are from a beginner class of an eight-week program.
Each student made an individual piece.
Video: Seattle Art Scene – Bronze Casting Process at Pratt Fine Arts Center
Bronze Casting Process at Pratt Fine Arts Center
- A piece is made out of clay, PLA 3D printed or any material as long as a mold can be made out of it and pull a wax from it. Find out more about PLA 3D printing.
- When the wax has been made it is ready to be cast into bronze.
- The waxes are then made by having an original positive.
- A rubber mold is made around it.
- The original positive is pulled out of the rubber mold.
- The rubber mold now has an empty space that is the shape of the original positive.
- Wax is poured into rubber mold.
- Wax is put into an investment casting mold. (The white molds shown placed in the sand.)
- The molds are placed into a kiln.
- These are heated to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The wax is melted out.
- The molds are taken out and placed into a sand pit so all the molds can be at the same height.
- The bronze is melted in a crucible and heated to 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The green flame comes out because of the copper in the bronze.
- The crucible is then lifted out of the ground.
- The melted bronze, weighing 300 lbs., is put into a pouring ring with two handles.
- The pouring ring is guided by two people.
- The pouring starts with the thinnest molds working through to the thicker molds.
- After the molds are cooled, a sledgehammer and an axe are used to break the molds.
- Finally the bronze will cleaned and polished.
Pratt Arts School Center important part of Seattle Art Scene
Pratt Fine Arts Center has been creating art for more than 40 years. The Seattle art center was stated by a group of community artists who wanted an open access public facility in the central district of the city.
Other art schools in the Seattle area come to Pratt Fine Arts to use the space and equipment available.
After completely a safety test, Seattle artists can rent studios on the premises. It is an affordable way for artists to create without owning all of their own equipment.
“This fosters a great atmosphere with professional artist who have huge careers, working alongside artists who are just starting out”, says instructor Marie Ferraro.
Ferraro explains, “This helps the beginner artist learn faster and lets them see a wide variety of techniques in every studio.”
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