'Silvi-Skullpture Series - Wolf, Pine Beetle Track, 2011' by Shane Wilson (complete)

LINK: Gallery Images

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Wolf, Beetle Tracks' by Shane Wilson


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series - Black Bear Birch, 2011' by Shane Wilson (complete)

LINK: Gallery Images

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear Birch' by Shane Wilson


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series - Black Bear Oak, 2011' by Shane Wilson (complete)

LINK: Gallery Images

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Oak' by Shane Wilson


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Wax

After the bronzes are coated with a few thin layers of lacquer, they are waxed and buffed with Trewax. This picture shows the bronzes after the wax has been applied and dried, but before the buffing and brushing, which will reveal the finished Skullptures!

Bronzes waxed following patina sealed by lacquer


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Laquer

The laquer is applied over the patina to seal and protect the effect.

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Wolf, Beetle Tracks' by Shane Wilson, lacquer applied


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Patina Complete

The ferric nitrate - bismuth nitrate patina combination has been applied to the bronzes, creating a range of brownish orange colours. The patination process is complete. The powdery surface will darken and clarify when lacquer is applied as a sealant.

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Birch Bark' by Shane Wilson, patina complete

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Oak' by Shane Wilson, patina complete


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Patina Base - Birchwood Casey

The first step in the application of the patina is the cold treatment of the bronze with a 50% solution of Birchwood Casey (a gun bluing compound suitable for use on silicon bronze.) After the Birchwood Casey has been applied cold, it is rinsed off after a short period, then the bronze is heated. The silver nitrate patina will be applied over this layer.

Birchwood Casey applied, rinsed and heated on bronzes prior to application of patinas.
Note that the two black bear bronzes were not treated completely with the Birchwood Casey. The orange-brown ferric nitrate based patina does not require it for the base coat.


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Highlight Sanding

The bronzes after sandblasting and then one more fine sanding to expose the highlights which will be treated with a silver nitrate patina.

Highlights sanded on bronze sculpture after sandblasting.


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Bronzes Sandblasted

The sandblasting facility located at a local establishment called Share Cost. The experience was a bit like walking on the moon when I crossed through that tarp, what with the accumulation of sand from previous blasters ...

Share-Cost SandBlast Booth
The bronze ready to be sandblasted to remove any debris and oxidization prior to applying the patina.

Bronze ready for sandblasting as a preparation for patination.


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Bronzes Chased and Sanded

The bronzes have been chased to remove the remaining bits of sprues left over from the casting process and to refine the designs.

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Wolf, Pine Beetle Track' by Shane Wilson, bronze chased

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Oak' by Shane Wilson, bronze chased

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Birch' by Shane Wilson, bronze chased


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Black Bear, Oak - Raw Bronze

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Red Oak' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze a
The raw bronze has been returned from the foundry.

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Red Oak' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze b
Some of the gates and matrix from the casting process are still attached and will need to be ground away using carbide burrs and sanding disks.

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Red Oak' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze c
This process is called 'chasing.'

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Red Oak' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze d
Also, I will add some additional detailing directly into the bronze prior to finishing with a multicoloured patina.


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Black Bear, Birch Bark- Raw Bronze

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Birch Bark' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze a
The raw bronze has been returned from the foundry.

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Birch Bark' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze b
Some of the gates and matrix from the casting process are still attached and will need to be ground away using carbide burrs and sanding disks.

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Birch Bark' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze c
This process is called 'chasing.'

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Black Bear, Birch Bark' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze d
Also, I will add some additional detailing directly into the bronze prior to finishing with a multicoloured patina.


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Wolf, Pine Beetle Track - Raw Bronze

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Wolf, Beetle Tracks' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze a
The raw bronze has been returned from the foundry.

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Wolf, Beetle Tracks' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze b
Some of the gates and matrix from the casting process are still attached and will need to be ground away using carbide burrs and sanding disks.

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Wolf, Beetle Tracks' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze c
This process is called 'chasing.'

'Skullpture Series, 2011 - Wolf, Beetle Tracks' by Shane Wilson, raw bronze d
Also, I will add some additional detailing directly into the bronze prior to finishing with a multicoloured patina.


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'Silvi-Skullpture Series 2011' - Three Waxes

I have decided to create another series of themed bronze Skullptures, and to continue to do so on an annual basis going forward.

Part of the inspiration for this decision came from an invitation to show at the
Algonquin Arts Centre Gallery in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada. The Algonquin Arts Centre Gallery is open seasonally from June 1 to mid October each year.

This year the theme for their exhibition and sale is 'The International Year of Forests', which was chosen to coincide with the United Nations initiative of the same name.

I will incorporate forest themes into unique bronze sculptures which will comprise this year's aptly named 'Silvi-Skullpture Series, 2011'.

'Silvi-Skullpture Series, 2011' - three waxes ready for bronze casting - a
The first three waxes have been individually sculpted and delivered to the foundry: two black bear skulls and one wolf skull. Each wax has been created as a unique sculpture, in a one-of-one 'edition'.

The first black bear employs a red oak theme, the second a birch bark theme, and the wolf a pine beetle track set.

I'll be creating more as the year progresses, so stay tuned.

'Silvi-Skullpture Series, 2011' - three waxes ready for bronze casting - b
Sculpting wax is an art unto itself. It has properties which allow: carving (like ivory or antler), melting and fusing (like metal), smoothing and addition (like clay or paint).

You may notice that the wax is differently coloured. The red wax is the purest casting wax and most brittle. The darker waxes have been through the burn out process at least once and contain sprue wax in combination with the casting wax, making for a softer, stickier more malleable wax.

Once the bronzes return from the foundry, I will carve them again, refining existing detail and adding the final design elements and embellishments, before applying the patina and finish.

I have decided to create these sculptures to stand alone without a base, or to hang on a wall with a sturdy nail or hook.


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