Long live the Queen

Welcome back! In our last exciting installment the Titania figure had fallen over and two months worth of work was gone with the wind.

The next day the sculpture team started pulling the clay off and stripping the figure down to her not as substantial as we had hoped metal armature. Under all the damaged clay and wire we discovered that the central 2 inch steel supporting pipe had broken under the weight of the clay. This time around we welded additional steel support bars onto that pipe as well as the much more solidly constructed metal framework.

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This was again covered in layers of rolled newspaper then shrink wrap and wax to prep it for the re-application of all that clay. This time our metal skeleton held up and after another two months of patient manipulation of clay Titania began to take shape. Again!

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She’s looks sort of like an Alien Queen here, doesn’t she?

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The only piece we had managed to save from her previous incarnation was Titania’s face which I reapplied to the figure. Now all she needs is a bit of hair to cover her brow…

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Lordy, is that leg wrong! David Spence, my co-sculptor worked his artistic magic on that bit of anatomy and finally got it just right. Of course, we couldn’t have managed without the help of first assistant supreme Liam Wolverton, who knew just where to put that piece of clay!

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Pretty soon, there she was, all 9 feet and 1,000 pounds of clay of her…

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We convinced the proprietor of our local wine store, Cathy Rose, that her features would make for a most beautiful Fairy Queen. Working from several photographs of her I sculpted a face that was welcoming but with just a touch of the haughtiness that I associate with Her Majesty, Queen Titania.

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Then, after a few last touches like the added garland of roses in her hair we were finished, at least with the fun part: the sculpting.

Next comes the mold …

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Our Queen is then covered in layer after layer of truly vile smelling rubber mold. After that a layer of tin foil is pressed over that same form, followed by an additional layer of hard rubber. After all those elements have cured the segments that you see here will be carefully labeled and then cut apart. Each one of those segments will then have about a quarter inch of hot wax poured into it and allowed to cool and harden. Those wax sections are peeled off the rubber molds and then dipped into a liquid ceramic, multiple times. After those ceramic molds harden they will be placed into ovens where the wax is melted out, leaving room for the poured bronze to replace it. After all those sections of bronze are finished they will be welded together and then the joints left by that welding process will need to be ground down.

Its just as easy as that!

In my next post I’ll show a step by step of the bronze pouring process.

Enjoy,

Charles

4 Responses to “Long live the Queen”

  1. Matt Dauer says:

    Glad everything is coming together…and staying together now! Looking forward to the unveiling but can you confirm yet if its going be June 22? Thanks!

  2. hollybird says:

    Thanks for more great process photos, Charles. I’ve done a little lost-wax casting for jewelry, but have always been intrigued by monumental bronzes. This is a ring-side seat for the process. I had no idea of the interim stuff leading to the ceramic dip and firing and I’m looking forward to seeing the next photos of the actual casting & assembly.

    Also – it’s amazing to watch the lovely Titania emerge out of that giant pile of chicken wire and newspaper and junk! Who knew?

  3. Anne.B says:

    This is really amazing work! What a lucky place! I can’t wait to see the final result :)

    I was wondering.. I work for a french magazine about fairies and folklore and I manage the Art section. I would like to talk about this fountain and i was wondering if you would have time to answer few questions to tell our french readers about this amazing adventure. Current issue is actually about sculpture! ^_^

    Thanks again for sharing this process photos, very interesting!
    Anne

  4. Charles Vess says:

    Anne,

    If you’ll send me your e-mail address we can ‘talk’, okay?

    Mine is: charles@greenmanpress.com

    Best,
    Charles

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