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My process

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

The inspiration for my sculptures

As an artist, nothing makes me happier than seeing someone connect and smile with my work. There’s no better feeling than when we experience a lift of our spirit. When captured, that exquisite moment can transcend our external environment.

I discovered my own artistic preferences, after a decade-long journey of continued self-instruction and independent study. My sculpture concept uses a fusion of sculpture techniques with long lasting raw materials to create something timeless.

My passion has always been the figure, with my works of the female form being instantly recognisable, often with their detailed, tactile costume. The rough surface of the textile & resin finish always give me a sense of connection.

The range of materials used to create my works are powerful reminders of the enduring importance of the handmade in art as well as the stories that underpin my identity.

I have evolved by exploring a broad range of materials, techniques and processes. My artwork explores the imperfect and intangible beauty of life.

The mediums

Which Material to Choose

Bronze Resin (cold cast) – bronze metal powder is mixed with a resin to create the appearance of foundry bronze metal but is more affordable and lightweight.

Foundry Bronze – refers to the poured molten metal that is cast solid or hollow, depending on size, at a bronze foundry (using the traditional ancient Greek lost wax method). It is more robust and will appreciate in value.

What is cold cast Bronze Resin?

Bronze Resin sculpture also known as “cold cast bronze” or bonded bronze, is made of real bronze powder, mixed with polyester, epoxy or another resin and poured into a rubber reusable mould. This is backed up with very strong fibreglass and resin. Because real bronze powder is used over its surface, cold cast bronze can be coloured or patinated (a chemical reaction with the metals in bronze) to look very similar to Foundry Bronze.

Other coloured powders, and not just bronze, may be mixed into the polyester or painted onto the surface to enable the resin to achieve the appearance of different materials, such as iron, copper or stone. Casting a cold cast sculpture is faster and less expensive than casting bronze. It is also much lighter and is still relatively strong, as it can be reinforced with an internal steel structure.

Cold cast bronze resin can last outside for over 35 years. Depending on the shape some cracking may occur over time. If water pools constantly in one area, cracking may appear if water sits and then freezes. Cold cast bronze resin is relatively inexpensive to repair.

Indoors bronze resin treated with care can last indefinitely. It is more fragile than foundry bronze and knocking or dropping can break or crack vulnerable parts of the sculpture. However, it is also quite easily repaired and is a fantastic bronze substitute. It’s generally very durable and much more affordable, normally approximately half the cost of Foundry Bronze.

Cold cast Bronze Resin is usually much lighter in weight than Foundry Bronze metal is. But it can be filled, to create a more substantial or wind resistant sculpture for the garden. At larger sizes, it is usually preferred not to fill the sculpture, as a hollow sculpture is easier to move and can be made equally wind resistant with internal stainless-steel reinforcing and either a sub-frame that gets buried in the ground, or steel fixings into a hard surface.

What is Foundry Bronze metal?

I am in total awe and fascination of the process of foundry bronze metal. It is one thing for me to create a beautiful costume in vintage textiles, quite another to cast that into a cold hard metal to last the next century.

Bronze is a copper and tin alloy that is shaped using the traditional method of bronze casting, using the lost wax process – used by sculptors in ancient Greece. The lost-wax casting method (Cire Perdue) hasn't changed much in the last 4000 years but that doesn't make it easy! It is highly labour intensive, the skill is in transforming all the detail of the original. Bronze's tensile strength allows compositions with minimal supports, this results in tactile bronze sculptures that will last many centuries.

The lost wax method of casting is a highly skilled, complex, time-consuming and labour-intensive process. The skill required in the casting, combined with the innate value of the bronze (which is made from around 85 - 88% copper and 12% tin), gives rise to the comparatively high price of a bronze sculpture.

Foundry Bronze sculpture lasts indefinitely and as the premier and most authentic sculptural material is often considered to be an investment.

Most of my bronze castings are produced to a limited edition of 9, after that the mould is destroyed guaranteeing you a very special piece indeed! You have every opportunity to see the work in progress including the casting at the bronze foundry. You can also be there at the installation or wait and create your own unveiling, maybe as a surprise for a loved one. This whole process is about partnership and creativity, you choose your involvement to suit you and will lead to a special and memorable occasion – as it should be.

About the Artist:

Dawn Conn is a Sculpture Artist based in Oxfordshire who creates tactile art cast in bronze metal or bronze resin.

Dawn seeks to create meaningful sculptures in celebration of vulnerability and the imperfectly perfect, to inspire personal emotion.

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