Process, Process, Process

Sometimes I ask myself why I didn’t choose graphite pencil drawing as a medium (Process for pencil drawing: obtain paper and pencil, sharpen pencil, press pencil to paper). Instead, my project for the semester is a mix of bronze casting and printmaking (Process: construct wax sculpture, fill with core material, coat in ceramic shell, melt out wax, pour in bronze, crack off ceramic shell, polish bronze, cover with hard ground, draw stuff, etch in acid, clean, roll with ink, print!) And that’s just a summary.

There is a comfort though, in so much process. There is nothing scarier than staring at a glaring white sheet of paper. Instead I just follow all the steps, and a sound original idea generates a sound work of art. Ok, it’s a little more complicated than that. Every time through the steps there is something new, something to be figured out. This time it was in the wax. How do you construct a perfectly square cube out of wax? Part of what I like about all this process is the inevitable problem solving which plays a big part. It only runs like clockwork the second or third time through.

At the moment I am right in the middle of all of the aforementioned steps. Next time I’ll have pictures of the pour, but yesterday morning we poured the bronze into the mold I had made. Although this seems like a final step – actually making the bronze form – it’s usually only half way. Since I’m planning to turn the sculpture into a printing block, it’s probably more like a third of the way. The next step is to clean up the cast cube using an air-powered grinder to make it smooth and shiny. Then we’re on to the printmaking side.

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