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THE FOUNDRY     ~ Bronze Age ~

I left that untutored desk of my 3rd year in art school, young adventurous without much knowledge on how to start a career but needed to make sure I could survive.  Word Processing was the new big thing even in Harare, Zimbabwe so I went on a computing course - Word Perfect 5.1 for those of you who remember the dreaded "reveal codes" blue back screen and armed myself with Word Perfect 5.1 & Lotus 1-2-3 ~ now a survivor and a player in the life game.  Though all the while a little flame continued to burn within which finally led  to that meeting many years later in the late 90's with Mark Kennedy, founder of Bronze Age Fine Art Foundry.  I'd learned that a small foundry existed in the East End, not far from where I was working and had been set up by a friendly approachable man - a Kiwi, and as I'd been working alongside a good deal of "All Blacks" supporters it made the phone call a lot easier and Mark was as warm and approachable as he still is to this very day.   I was blown away that damp dark early evening in Limehouse the moment I set foot through those doors into Bronze Age.  It was quiet, I'd never seen a foundry and instantly I wanted to be part of this world I knew nothing of. What had bought me to these doors was an understanding of the indestructible nature of bronze.  I'd been tinkering with ceramics which required  constant support, it dried out at speed, cracked at speed too and sometimes exploded in the kiln - constantly remaining fragile in every state. Now infinite potential lay before me that Friday night; there and then I asked if I could do a job ~ I could clean or make tea at the very least - anything just to get behind those doors.  The week before I'd decided to leave a job I'd liked very much at Bankers Trust, Appold Street, back office, documentation, equity derivatives. I was there for nearly a couple of years and worked with fabulous people, we worked long & hard, a minimum  7am - 7pm.  I remained friends with many of those back office colleagues for years after.  It paid well and I saved but it was time to depart ~ thank you "Bankers Trust", I learned how to work long & hard behind your doors.

Metal hook to lift heavy bronzes in the foundry
Bronze Life Size Horse Heads by Nicola Toms
A tap on the hot liquid wax in the foundry
"Spru" the resident pest controller Bronze Age London

"Stable Mates"


Here's a recent walk through Bronze Age ~ Fine Art Foundry following the process of casting "Stable Mates" into bronze using the lost wax technique.  The process is complex with many hands on deck. 

A bucket of hot wax ~ lost wax casting process
Wax Bronze Age London
Ceramic Shell Bronze Age Art Foundry London
Shell drying Bronze Age Art Foundry London
Ceramic Shell coats wax
Ceramic shell layers are built up on the wax
The furnace in wait
The furnace warming up - bronze ingots are placed inside
Constant attention as bronze reaches the required temperature
The bronze close to pouring temperature
Removing the ceramic shell coating the cooled bronze
Cast bronze beneath the ceramic shell
After the ceramic shell has been removed, metal work begins
Bronze off-cuts
Chasing (metal) tools
Bronze Age Chase Room
The chase room - work begins on the metal (bronze)
bronze surface cleaned and ready ready to patinate
Cleaned up bronze ready for patination
Patination about to begin in the foundry
Oxidation is rapid when heat is applied
Patination in progress
Patination complete
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