There will always be a few wrinkles, but this is the normal scenario for a new project. As in the creation of any piece of fine work, a careful pace and professional care is the key. Please try to appreciate this... it's to your advantage.
1. CONCEPT: If you know what you want, we are on the way! If not, we’ll discuss the who, what, where, when and how factors and develop the image you need.
2. BUDGET: We don’t have to spend it all, but I have to know what the parameters are. Trying to design a piece without being able to factor in modeling time and material costs is a guessing game we don’t want to play.
3. DESIGN: A rendering by you or me will be sufficient for a small piece or a new arrangement of catalog elements.
4. DESIGN CLAY SKETCH: For portraiture and selected others, I often model a small rough clay model for concept approval and foundry pricing.
5. TIMELINE: How long will it take versus when do you need it. This is always a crucial factor which can produce rush charges by the foundry. I never release new sculpture to the foundry until I can walk past it without making the tiniest correction. That’s when you will see it and only after you approve does it leave the studio.
6. PRICE ESTIMATE: Studio time and materials cost plus foundry material and man-hour cost. Travel expense and unknowns may need to be planned for, too. I will be creating a piece of original signed bronze sculpture for you…you’re not going over-seas for a pot metal-looks-like-bronze imitation. Nor will you be working with an artist depending on low priced volume sales of so so work. There are less expensive routes for you to consider, but the final product will illustrate the difference.
7. SCULPTURE APPROVAL: I will present a price based on all of the above. Upon approval, you will be invoiced the total price for a catalog piece or 50% of the price for work requiring multiple approvals. This payment schedules your project and the clock begins.
8. MODELING (if necessary): For the simpler new pieces and assemblages not requiring extensive modeling, you will have an opportunity to approve a photo if you wish. Invoicing for the 50% balance will occur prior to casting.
For portraiture or selected other more complicated work, a smaller scaled model may be created for your approval. The full size piece will be scaled up from the small version. Upon approval of the small model a second invoice for the account balance will be presented.
When I have completed the final clay model, you will (be invited to visit to) approve it prior to it's release to the foundry.
9. CLAY IMAGE IS MOLDED: When molding begins, the image is set and cannot be changed.
10. WAX IMAGE IS CREATED: The rubber mold is used to create a wax duplicate of the clay original. The wax is molded, then melted away leaving a hollow mold, the negative image of the eventual bronze sculpture.
11. BRONZE IMAGE IS CAST: Molten bronze is then poured into this cavity.
12. BRONZE IS (RE)ASSEMBLED, FINISHED AND PATINATION APPLIED: This process can require days, weeks and even months, depending on the sculpture. When complete, though, it never fails to amaze me that even with the molding and sectioning and welding and grinding and reassembly, the finished sculpture is a beautiful recreation of the original clay model.
14. INSTALLATION PHOTO: If I am not at the installation, digital jpeg photographs taken and emailed to me for my portfolio will be requested. If I forget to ask… surprise me!
It’s a long and involved process, but the result will be well worth the wait for you and your customer… and many generations to come!