Tuesday, October 11, 2011

art class

Last week was full of art.  Monday- Wednesday I had a bronze sculpting workshop class.  The art of bronze sculpting is a fascinating and intricate process.  First, one sculpts a piece out of wax (it needs to be hollowed out if it is really thick), then we cast the wax in mold of cement and sand.  This is as far as we got in three days.  After the mold is solid, it is placed over a fire so the wax heats up and drips out.  Then, liquid hot magma...just kidding, liquid hot bronze is poured into the mold.  Last, you crack away the cement, and the final bronze sculpture comes to life!

A bunch of pictures from my bronze experience.  Above is the studio.
I ended up making some jewelry, a fish keychain, a mini baobab tree, and a meerkat.  As you can see here, the professional sculptors attached all of our pieces together with pieces of wax to create a web of our personal creations.  This allows the wax to drip out of the mold.  After the bronze hardens, they cut the individual pieces apart.

One of the artists melting our pieces together.

Some of my pieces.  The pointy part on top will stick out of the cement mold.  Since all of the wax is connected, when it liquifies, it will have a way to drip out.

A professional piece. It was amazing, and scary, to watch the pros hollow out the pieces.  They do it by sticking a hot poker into the wax, and the inside melts out.  This trumpet was solid at first, and even though you can't see it here the walls are only a quarter-centimeter thick.

The molding process.

Thursday-Saturday, our entire group participated in a batik workshop.  Batik is the art of dying fabric, but the kicker is... WAX.  The first step in this process is making your design on the fabric with wax.  Wherever there is wax, the fabric will stay white because the wax resists the dye.  There are many methods of applying wax.  Drawing with a foam "pen", painting over the whole thing to create a crackled effect, dripping/splattering little droplets, or (my favorite) using big wooden stamps called tampons.  (I guess we're not mature adults yet because we all giggled when we learned they were called tampons.)  I would dip the tampon into the liquid wax, then stamp it onto the fabric. The dying process involves some heavy chemicals--we had to wear gloves and masks.  The craziest part of batik were the colors of the dyes.  The yellow dye is deep purple in the bin! Only by drying in the sun does the fabric slowly transform to yellow. 

Me and one of my pieces-

All of our designs hanging out to dry!

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