2006-12-08 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Modern Art Foundry - Part Two Rockaway Artists Alliance
Commentaryby Susan Hartenstein

Modern Art Foundry - Part Two
Rockaway Artists Alliance

Commentaryby Susan
Hartenstein

Title: "Omega Boats." Artist: Arianna Rose, Medium: PhotographyTitle: "Omega Boats." Artist: Arianna Rose, Medium: Photography Last week, I introduced you to Modern Art Foundry, the family owned and operated business in Astoria, Queens with the international reputation. This week I begin the exploration of the intriguing process of lost wax casting, in which this foundry specializes. It is a technique with ancient origins used to cast sculpture, originally fabricated in a variety of mediums, in metal.

The first step is to make an accurate negative rubber mold from the original sculpture. Rubber is a general term for various flexible materials that, among others, include polysulfide, silicon, and latex. The rubber is poured, brushed or sprayed on the original. Or a simple plaster mold can be made. At Modern Art Foundry it is recognized that, because each sculpture is unique, the best approach for a particular work is determined by a team of artisans with years of experience and the most up-to-date tools and techniques at their disposal. This philosophy is repeated at every step in the process and the foundry works closely with the artist, sensitive to his/her needs and desires.

When the rubber dries a plaster "mother mold" is built over the rubber mold still surrounding the original. The rubber and plaster molds are made on one half of the sculpture at a time. After both halves of plaster are hard the mold is opened and the original sculpture is removed. The two halves of the rubber mold surrounded by the plaster are rejoined, yielding an accurate negative rubber mold of the original. This rubber mold encased in plaster can be used to produce as many castings of the original as are desired. At this point the original is used only as a reference guide.

A positive wax pattern is now made from the negative rubber mold. In the wax department the inside of the rubber mold is brushed with a preliminary wax layer to ensure that all the detail and texture of the original sculpture is maintained. Then progressively cooler layers of melted wax are poured into the mold and evenly coated or "sloshed" inside to provide the necessary thickness for casting. Some wax patterns may just require sloshing or open brushing only.

When this stage is complete the seams in the pattern that were created at the joint of the two halves of the mold, can be retouched either by the artist or by the foundry and the artist then approves the pattern. The wax stage is an opportunity to make any desired changes. After approval of the wax pattern by the artist...well, you will have to wait until next week to hear the rest of the story.

GIFTED , RAA's holiday member exhibit, on view through December 10 at sTudio 6 Gallery, RoCA@ Fort Tilden Admission free. Gallery hours: Saturdays: 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. For information: 718 474-0861; rockart 116@ aol.com, www.rockawayartistsall ian ce.org

Penelope Atheras is "an artist for all seasons." Self-taught, she is in constant search of new challenges and new mediums in which to express her seemingly limitless creativity. A woman of elegant demeanor and graceful carriage, her insatiable sense of adventure, joie de vivre and an energy that comes from enjoying every moment, infuse everyone with whom she comes in contact. Among her talents, she is a sculptor in many mediums, a painter, stained glass designer and bead artist. Like any artist with a special gift, Atheras uses these mediums in unique ways that are truly her own.

She is exhibiting two beaded wall hangings in GIFTED . Working in sTudio 6 Gallery on weekends, she can now be observed creating a clay maquette for a sculpture of a lion in leaping stance that she will eventually fabricate in stone. The wall hangings are "Good Morning" and "Sophisticated Lady." The latter is in the style of Art Deco, with the elegant, sweeping flow characteristic of that era. Created on a loom with a tambor needle that has a wooden stem and a tip that is formed like a very fine crochet needle, Atheras' beaded work requires much time, patience and skill. This is the final weekend for GIFTED . Please take the opportunity to stop by to see this very special artist at work, her art and that of other members of the RAA. Gallery hours are listed above.

CALL TO ARTISTS: "Where Flowers Bloom in Winter." Deadline for receipt of entries: December 8.

RAA Holiday Party and Elections: Monday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Building T-149, Fort Tilden. Featured band: Hudson's Hope.

Rockaway Theatre Company: Café Murder, dinner theater murder mystery, December 9 @ Pier 92 @ 7 p.m. Call for reservations: 718 945-2200.

Live Model Drawing Workshop - Fridays, 7 - 10 p.m. through December 8 . sTudio 6 Gallery. Bring your own drawing materials. Final session: one pose all evening. Cost: $15 per session.

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