There is a real freshness and freedom that comes from working loosely in clay or wax as a sculptor. I find inspiration in the rough wax maquettes (or sculptural sketches) found in Degas’ studio on his death. Sculpting with warmed wax allows me to achieve a sense of movement and looseness in my dancing figures. Bronze is the perfect medium to capture this. The casting process is where the alchemy begins. Yes, bronze is a practical choice as it is durable. It is considered a precious metal, and as such has an intrinsic value all of its own. However I love working with bronze for artistic reasons.
The molten bronze picks up every detail of my original handiwork, right down to my very fingerprints. Using bronze enables me to freeze a moment of a gravity-defying dance pose, communicating the joy of dance. But it is also something about the look and feel of bronze, which captivates me. There is nothing quite like the feel of bronze and the incredible colours that emerge in the patination or colouring process. There is something timeless about bronze, yet you can sense the connection with artists of the past like Degas, Rodin and Matisse who used exactly the same bronze-casting techniques as we use today – the lost-wax process.
If you’re interested, over the next few weeks I will blog about the creation of my bronze dancing figures as well as my commissioned bronze sculpture of Sadako Sasaki.