Beetle Abstraction: Clay to Bronze Cast Sculpture

Starting with a chosen beetle species from the Elsie Welter Natural History Museum, students of Sculpture 340 created an abstraction in clay, then cast the final abstracted beetle form into a bronze sculpture. The goal was to create a new form that resembled the original beetle, but embodied a new sculptural form.

Using the lost wax-method of bronze casting, students first made the beetle abstraction in clay. Then molds were taken and wax copies were cast and abstracted into a final form. This form was then immersed in a refractory investment mold, and cured in a kiln at 1350 degrees F (732 degrees C). Finally, molten bronze at 1900 degrees F (1038 degrees C) was poured into the molds, creating a bronze positive copy of the wax original. The bronze was then “chased” or polished, chemical patinas were applied to create color, and a final coat of wax was applied. Mickelson, Art 340

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