Casting Process

From the artist's hands to the final polish, many steps are involved in the creation of a limited edition bronze sculpture.

First comes the reproduction mold in which layers of silicone rubber and plaster are carefully applied to the original artwork. When hot wax is poured into this reproduction mold, an exact replica of the original sculpture is produced.

The wax replica is carefully removed from the mold, inspected, and refined or "chased" by hand, removing any flaws left by the reproduction process. Wax sprues, or gates, are added, as is a ceramic cup, which will at a later stage channel molten bronze into the shell to create the sculpture.

The next stage is the creation of the ceramic shell. Over the period of several days the wax replica is alternately dipped into a vat of liquid slurry, then a vat of silica crystals, and allowed to dry. The process is repeated until a shell of sufficient thickness and strength is attained.

The completed shell is placed in a high temperature oven, to melt and remove the wax in the classic "lost wax" method. The hardened or "fired" shell is then secured and molten bronze is poured into the impression left by the wax. When the bronze has cooled enough to handle, the ceramic shell is chipped, then sandblasted away.

The cup and gates are removed and skilled craftsmen weld, "chase" and polish the bronze to remove imperfections and restore the texture and integrity of the original sculpture.

Carefully applied chemical solutions or "patinas" create the varied shadings of the metal, which are then sealed with wax to complete the process of creating a fine art bronze.

The work is intense and demanding, the result beautiful and timeless. For untold centuries, Mark Hopkins bronze sculptures will endure and be handed down from generation to generation.