By Annemie Odendaal
I have always been intrigued by the art of sculpting, especially bronze sculpture. The idea of having a piece of the earth, forged in fire to create a thing of beauty, that will last forever, just blows my mind. It seemed complicated to create, and I wasn’t sure how to start, because of the involved process. You need a whole team to finish an artwork! The one thing that held me back, was that I didn’t have a lot of knowledge or exposure in this medium to help me kick-start this journey. I was particularly contemplating the idea with more curiosity after finishing my “Why don’t Pigs Fly” series, because I thought they would make the most adorable little bronze sculptures!
During a recent stay in Paris, I met an incredible sculptor, Nasa Kim Bo, and he truly inspired and infectiously encouraged me to take up sculpting. I was in awe of his work, and the philosophy behind his artwork was a great point of conversation. That made me think more seriously about the idea I toyed with, so I frantically started googling to find someone to assist me back in South Africa.
So that is where my journey really started. I came across the witty and talented Joyce Carreira’s work, and it just resonated with me. As soon as I was back, I scheduled a meeting with her and before I knew it, I was sculpting, and I took to this like a fish to water. I worked with Heinrich Filter to make these babies come to life. He showed me how to mould, pour and finish off bronze sculptures, and it was quite a thrill to see the whole process unfold right in front of my eyes.
It all starts by moulding and carving my subjects with potters clay. Once I am happy with the finishes, it gets send off to become a wax figure. During the next stage, I refine the wax artwork and make sure everything is perfect for the next stage: casting it in bronze. Even then it is not completed! It needs to be assembled, welded and finished off with a patina, colouring the bronze for final presentation. In the final stages, it gets polished, waxed and mounted on the sandstone bases. The progress is quite meticulous and laborious, so it takes quite a while to complete a series.
I am beyond thrilled to show you the final products!!! I have completed two series of bronze sculptures:
- “Why don’t pigs Fly”: a set of three different sculptures based on my linocut series with the same title
- “Postcards from Paris”: a set of three different sculptures based on my ink sketches in Paris
Let me know which are your favourites! I hope you fall in love with them as I have. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.