I start by building an armature for the sculpture, usually out of heavy wire or pipes. The armature is like a skeleton supporting the sculpture because the clay will not support itself. After the armature is fixed firmly to a base, I start to add clay. I use fine wires for more delicate features of the sculpture, like this horse's mane and tail. I use a variety of tools to carve the details or texture. I often work in front of a mirror. Seeing the sculpture in reverse gives me a more accurate perception of how the sculpture is looking.
When the sculpture is looking the way I want it to look, I take it to the foundry to be cast. The piece is cast through the lost wax method of casting. This complicated process has been used for centuries. Click the Learn More button below for a more detailed explanation of the process. Because this sculpture was a bit complicated to cast, it was poured in pieces. In this picture the pieces are being welded together. You can see an open joint in the tail. This is an example of what the "raw" bronze material looks like before the patina is added.
After the pieces are welded together, the seams are removed and it is ready for patina. The patina is the chemical coloration of the bronze. The casting may be coated with compounds such as oxides, carbonates, or sulfides. When the patina is complete the final step is to secure the sculpture to a base, usually wood or granite. There you have it! A finished sculpture!