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Is it Clay or is it Bronze? by Maidy Morhous

My name is Maidy Morhous, I am a sculptor. The other day a fellow artist complimented a picture of me working on one of my sculptures. She asked if it was metal I was working on?

I was confused at first, and then I realized this artist, a painter, had no clue as to how a bronze sculptor works, and if she was clueless it made me realize that most the world didn’t have a clue!

If you ask a sculptor what he works in he might reply metal, in which case it means he welds pieces of metal, steel, etc… together to create his work. If he replies clay, marble or another stone then his finished artwork will be in that medium. But if you ask a bronze sculptor what he works in he will reply “clay”; either oil or water based. To most this must seem confusing because he says he’s a bronze sculptor, but he creates in clay!

The reason is that bronze cannot be sculpted directly; it is heated to a molten state, and poured into a mold that is created from the original artwork in clay.

So when you see a bronze sculptor at work he is working in clay. The preferable clay for me is oil clay. The oil keeps the clay from hardening allowing an artist to rework, or work on multiple pieces at one time without the need to cover and keep moist as with water clay. Oil clay is a mixture of microcrystalline wax, #10 weight oil, automotive grease, and dry clay powder.

In my next blog….The next step in creating a bronze; How the mold is made.

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