Frequently Asked Questions
How are the sculptures made?
All of Eddie's sculptures start their lives as a sketch which are done in the field. The sketches are quite simple, he add's little notes from visual observations. This gives him a general feel for the subject, he see's it as the birth of a sculpture. He enjoy's the sketching and studying every bit as much as the sculpting.
The next stage is to visit one of the museum stores, where he has permission to draw and accurately measure the mounted specimens. He then combines all of the information that he has gathered and does a few life size drawings in various posers. He also does some detailed drawings of heads, feet and beaks etc.
Now for the sculpting. The starting point is an armature, this is a structure that resembles a skeleton. It needs to be sturdy and strong to withstand the weight of the sculpting materials, which can be resin, wax, clay, plaster or several other materials. The choice is usually determined by the size and complexity of the subject, usually the piece will be refined, many times before it is considered finished. The very last thing to check is the eyes, they can be very problematical.
Once regarded as finished, the precious piece is sent to a long established, reputable, fine art foundry in Birmingham, where it will be cast in bronze.
The casting process is known as the 'lost wax' process, and it was discovered over 6000 thousand years ago. This ancient method is still widely used today.
The first stage at the foundry is to cut the original sculpture into several pieces to make two-part moulds. Eddie dreads seeing the moulder do this after all the trouble he has taken to create it. The moulds are used to make separate wax replicas of the original piece. The replicas are not cast solid but are cast hollow. The thickness of the wax is approximately 5mm thick. The centre of these replicas is then filled with a type of plaster of paris. The replica is then covered in a further mould made from clay material and then left to dry. When dry, the mould is put into an oven and the wax melted out, hence, 'lost wax'. The space left by the wax is then filled with molten bronze metal and cast at over one thousand degrees.
The second mould then has to be broken open with a hammer, and the bronze pieces go to the finishing shop to be 'fettled', a term used for giving the castings a good clean and smoothing look, and made ready for all the various pieces to be welded together.
The completed piece is then ready to be patinated using a mixture of heat and chemicals, which gives the sculpture its colours. Finally, the sculpture is waxed to give it its tactile finish.
How long has Eddie been sculpting?
For 30 years. He started sculpting age 54.
Can I visit Eddie's studio?
Here at Wildlife Sculptures we are a very small team; Father and Daughter to be precise, although we are keenly backed by the rest of the family.
Being a very small outlet, we are not able to open the gallery on a regular basis, but, we do welcome visitors outside exhibition periods. I have always thought that buying or even considering buying a sculpture, should be a special occasion, so it makes sense to arrange a visit when I will have more time to give you lots of information about a sculpture, without obligation.
I don't like the phrase 'by appointment' it does not suggest the friendly welcome that you will recieve here.
To arrange a visit please telephone or email.
Can you tell me a little more about Eddie?
How did Eddie get into sculpting?
Which payment menthods do you accept?
Which shipping methods do you use?
When will my order be shipped?
Why are bronze's expensive?
Prior to a few months ago, I had not seriously considered advertising my sculpture business online. One of my regular customers persuaded me to give it a go.
At first, I was somewhat hesitant, because putting my name and sculptures to the world I wasn’t sure what it might bring. After a few postings on Facebook, I have been amazed at the response, not only the number of followers, but, their very complimentary, encouraging and helpful replies. Very few have been critical, the common question is why are bronze sculptures so expensive?
I can answer this question quite simply, it is the cost of producing high quality bronze products. When I take my original artwork to the foundry this is where the cost really lies. The sculptures are cast using a method know as the “lost wax” process. It is a process discovered 5,500 years ago thought to be in Egypt.
The sculpture enters the foundry in the moulding department. Here my sculpture are cut into several pieces and each piece has a mould made to enable hollow wax replicas of the pieces to be made. Creating the waxes is key to the quality of the finished bronze. A bad mould will never produce a first-class product.
The wax replicas are then put into a second mould where the wax is melted out, hence, lost wax. The space left by the wax being lost is filled with molten bronze at around 1,200 degrees. The skills needed for this part of the work is invaluable and I like the thought that the person who makes my moulds and casts the waxers has been doing it for over 40 years.
Once cast in bronze, the pieces go to the fettling shop to have all the runners and rises cut off before being passed to the finishing workshop. This is where the pieces are converted from ugly ducklings into majestic swans. Where every blemish created during casting is cleaned, smoothed, and polished before being reassembled into the finished article. Again, the work is time consuming and needs dedicated staff who take a delight in producing top quality products.
Finally, the patinators get the pieces. This is another highly skilled job using chemicals and heat to get the colours into the finished sculpture before giving them a waxing to make them shine.
I hope this gives some explanation for the cost of a bronze sculpture.