Bronze casters show mettle in physically tough craft

Fondeur d'art at Fonderie des Cyclopes
Filling the mould with molten bronze requires care and a keen eye for volume

CRAFTS IN FOCUS: Strength and artistic sensibility are prerequisites for any fondeur d’art

The fondeur d’art, or bronze caster, uses moulds to shape bronze into objects, sculptures, jewellery, or other artworks.

Bronze is an alloy made from approximately 85% copper, 12% tin and some lead, depending on the foundry.

Fondeur and statue at Fonderie des Cyclopes
Beautiful bronzework from the Fonderie des Cyclopes in Merignac

 It is the caster who melts and pours the metal into moulds, sometimes working in close conjunction with a sculptor, at other times working alone.

There are three principal methods for casting bronze: lost wax casting, using a mould made of wax that melts away in the kiln; sand casting, using a system of sand moulds and frames known as flasks; and centrifugal casting. Recently, the trend has been away from sand casting and towards lost wax casting, a technique that has changed very little since the Renaissance.

Making the mould for the bronze is where the caster’s artistic ...

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