I am always happy to undertake commissions either for portraits or original works.
You may have seen something on this site that you would like to have developed further, either in size, a variation on a theme, or to suit a particular location. You may alternatively be considering a portrait bust or figure of your child, a loved one or a colleague.
The commissioning process at this stage does vary slightly between original works and portraits.
These can either be full figure, part figure, head and shoulders or head only.
After initial contact by telephone I like to meet the subject either at my studio or, preferably, in their own environment where they might be far more relaxed and true to their surroundings. Here, I would get a sense of the person's character and posture, and through creative dialogue arrive at a possible pose.
I will also take a number of photographs and measurements from which I can formulate my ideas and rough out the basic sculpture back at the studio, should we proceed. These will also give me a basis for foundry and material costings needed for the finished quote.
For this meeting I ask only expenses for film and travel.
Once we have agreed a pose, I will send a written quote for the finished work. If work is to proceed I will then require 50% of the quote before I can begin.
Receipt of this will constitute a contract to create the original in clay.
Once the piece has been roughed out in my studio I will need to diary in a number of live sittings with the subject in order to finish the work.
When the clay is completed to our mutual satisfaction I will then require the second payment of 50% in order to begin the casting process.
Receipt of this will constitute an agreement that the clay original is finished to your satisfaction and a contract to cast the work in the agreed material (usually bronze).
Once the casting process begins, changes to the original form are no longer possible.
After initial contact by telephone to discuss the preliminary idea, I like to meet, either at my studio or at the proposed site where I can take photographs and begin to form more concrete ideas. I see this stage very much as a creative process between client and artist for which I would require only travel and basic photographic costs to be covered.
Unless there is a specific budget, any costings at this stage can only be given as a 'ball park' figure.
Once a brief has been decided upon I usually need to produce one or two small rough maquettes as a means of sketching out the idea. Quotes for any design work of this kind will be given in advance based upon the requirements of the brief. Design work will proceed on receipt of this payment.
Costings for the finished work are only finalized once the design and scale of the finished piece are agreed.
From this point on, working arrangements are the same as for a portrait commission (above).
Note: The production of plinths and pedestals, their fitting and (in the case of larger works) installation are always costed separately.
THE CASTING PROCESS
Casting is the process of reproducing a 3-D image using a mould to produce a replica in another material.
The foundry I employ uses the lost wax and ceramic shell methods for bronze casting.
This process involves five stages
This consists of a silicon rubber coating of the original, constructed in sections so that the mould can be easily removed, as well as providing access to the inside surface and retrieval of the wax positive later on.
The mould holds a negative image of the original. A strong fibre-glass jacket is layered on top of the rubber to support it.
A hollow wax positive of the original is cast from the mould by 'slushing' hot wax into it.
The thickness of the wax corresponds to the eventual thickness of the bronze. This wax positive is then worked on to make good any imperfections.
A network of wax rods (sprues) and a funnel like cup are fitted on to the positive. These become the channels through which the molten metal will travel later in the process.
The sprue system and wax positive are coated with a special ceramic liquid which sets to form an extremely hard shell around the wax. This shell is built up using five or six more similar layers and backed up with glass fibre matting in the liquid, so that the resultant case is strong enough to take the heat shock it will receive later.
The inside cavity of the hollow wax is filled with a plaster based mixture (core).
The wax is then melted out of the ceramic shell in a very hot kiln leaving negative space within the shell ready to receive the molten bronze.
With the wax melted out, the shell is then packed in sand with the sprues uppermost and funnel just showing.
The bronze is heated in a furnace until molten and then poured into the ceramic shell mould to the brim of the funnel.
Once cooled, the ceramic shell and core are chipped away.
The sprues are cut off (fettled) and the metal surface worked on to repair any casting imperfections (chasing).
Large pieces that are cast in sections are welded together and the welds chased back to blend in with the form.
The finished bronze is coloured (patinated) by applying various metal oxides, often using heat.
The bronze can then be waxed and polished to slow down the natural oxidizing process.