Humanity Memorial Inc. Team
  Chen Hopen National Des   Ming Mei Hopen National
Steps of commissioning a sculpture

Steps of commissioning a sculpture:


1. Contact...................... no cost A client should call us directly 304 765 5611 or e-mail to . We can discuss concepts for the sculpture, the site, the scale, the time line and budget. There is no cost or obligation for this consultation, prospective clients are welcome to visit our studio.


2. Design....................... approx 1-2% of budget After a client has developed some concepts with the artist, and the artist has visited the site, it is time to develop the ideas into images. Several concepts will be turned into sketches for the client to review. There is a small fee for the drawing and travel, with no obligation to continue to the next step if the client is not pleased with the drawings.


3.Maquette...................... approx 3-5% of budget (group sculptures 10% of budget)When the client has selected one of the drawings as the image to develop into sculpture, it is time to make a maquette, or small model of the sculpture. The model is sculpted in clay or soft wax. It will show the work from all angles, being 3-d, and can easily be imagined full size in the space selected as sculpture site. Being flexible, it can be adjusted and reworked if need be, to make it "work" in the space. Maquettes often have another life, often clients have them cast in bronze or even have an edition made as a gift to contributors to the project or organization. Again, even at this stage, there is no obligation for the client to continue to the final large scale bronze, that is at his option, only if he/she is pleased with the maquette.



4. Full Size Clay and Contract............ approx 15-20% of budget When client is pleased with the maquette, it is time to develop the full size clay; the full size clay will be exactly the shape and scale of what the full size bronze will be. At this point it is also time to draw up a contract for the complete installation of a finished bronze. Our contracts state a firm bottom line "turn key" cost and a definite installation deadline, no extra costs, no delays, no excuses. Of course, the client must approve the clay before we cast it in bronze. A studio visit to view the clay is encouraged, and there is always the time to make changes to hone an image, the clay takes perhaps a month, the bronze will last for thousands of years.


5. Mold/ wax/ casting/ assembly/ surface/ patina After approval of full size clay, the client gives the "go ahead" order to cast the work into bronze, finish it, install it. This entails many long and expensive technical processes. First a rubber and plaster mold is made over the entire full sized clay, this is then used to cast a hollow wax of the sculpture with walls approx 1/4 thick. This wax is retouched, then cut up into pieces of convenient castable size. The wax sections are vented and gated with wax pipes to a sprue bar and funnel. This entire piece is coated many times by dipping in a liquid ceramic coating that hardens in layer upon layer around the wax and its funnel. When dry, the wax and ceramic is put in a large oven at 2000 degrees; the wax melts out, leaving a hollow ceramic shell with the impression of the sculpture inside it. The red hot ceramic shell at 2000 degrees. When cool, the ceramic is broken away with a hammer to free the bronze casting within. The funnel bar and gates are cut away and the bronze section is surfaced and peened. The bronze sections are welded together with TIG welding using an identical bronze alloy rod for filler. After the welds are chased the entire work is surfaced and refined by hammering, cutting, and polishing. The last process is patination, using a torch the surface is heated while patina chemicals are dabbed on with a brush, beautiful rich colors are developed on the surface by the attachment of various molecules to the copper alloy. After an overcoat of incrylac and wax, the bronze sculpture is transported to the site and installed. Large stainless steel bolts attached to the bottom of the sculpture are cemented with epoxy into holes drilled into masonry below.


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