Posted by bruce paul fink on January 18, 1999 at 15:54:25:
A Personal Opinion Reply
Home or private studio foundries or casting operations can be very viable.
For me it is mandatory.
Size of any operation is of course limited to your location, space, scope, drive and desired abilities.
I have been casting my sculpture alone and with homemade equipment since 1961 with about a current 90 - 95% success rate. I constantly try new methods, build new tools and devices and experiment with alternatives in every phase of the operation. Not everything goes as originally deliberated with possibly another 5 to 10% of the attempts in that 90% turning out in a form not ideal but salvageable with the addition of a weld repair or another casting or alteration.
This failure actually offers the opportunity to undergo what is affectionately known as "an esthetic re evaluation" and changes a media duplication process into a form continuation.
Those may seem like bad odds if one is casting machine parts but I'm not and it is also the reason for doing it in the first place as well as giving the freedom to take technical risks and try alterred systems.
Any specific required outcome, such as when casting for others, is cast with the tried and true directions by not taking these chances and sometimes with the standard additional urethane rubber (insurance backup) molds.
Other sculpture forms created during any risky process allow this additional freedom. It is often through the errors and goofs that I have learned the most.
As an occasional tropical Scuba Diver I marvel at the
imperceptible delineation that is hard to define as animal,
plant and mineral combine to disguise, trick and camouflage
their undersea habitat. This world also mimics the qualities
society weaves it's webs in. My work often draws on this and my forms are often semi realistic derivations from nature with all the fine intricacies and detailed discoveries that exist in
actuality so castings consequently have to give me the same
detailing as executed in the wax. I want the viewer to also
marvel during his inspection.
Only the hand of the original artist can impart the maximum touch and personal intent.
Outside foundries can at best preserve the state of the early model or can direct and interpret the outcome through their roots. The product may be beautiful but the fingerprints won't
I cast to control not just the model but every moment of
its final roots and am able to plan and take advantage of each
process along the way using positive / negative / positive /
technical altered prints that are impossible to obtain in any
other way or with any other's mind directing it.
The viewer or critic in the meantime seldom has the faintest idea of what goes into a casting (though they may have looked up 'lost wax' and even visited a foundry), could care less, couldn't know the difference from one hand print to the next or why it's even there and will accept or reject the work based mainly on their accepted conscious peers of the moment. From my experience, this often seems to be via the current reviews being published or touted as cerebral smart shit to satisfy a space, promote an opening or boost a tax deduction....
Real motivations that create the critical review should always be taken into consideration. They seldom have anything to do with the personal or creative mechanics necessary to bridge while creating a fine bronze or metal casting. Few but the integrated artist / craftsman can feel the depth of the flaws and successes to appreciate from that insight.
Both eyes are needed to be fully depth sensitive.
Seven senses are more informative than five but the person with five will always challenge or question the importance or necessity of any unfamiliar to him.
The very process of the creation is for me the winning act. A good life pushes personal limits of mind and body while trying to remain humanly sensible and socially attached while learning and sharing all discoveries. It's rewarded with a physical notation of the thoughts and conditions that allowed the act to emerge as a timeless indication for future recognition.
It's a form of mechanical birthing relating your capacities
and feelings of the moments.
Sharing the result can also be satisfying if the audience is
more knowledgeable about the forms personal origins and being
than if it is just another object to be compared with the
decoration department of the local discount house.
For me it is less satisfying to be able to say I made that than it is to feel it become.
Bruce Paul Fink