When sculpting, Delesprie uses a process that’s almost lost in today’s world – sculpting from the inside out. “If it’s not correct on the inside, it cannot possibly be correct on the outside,” says Delesprie, a studied “anatomist.” This means, before sculpting any clothing, she undertakes the laborious task of sculpting bones and muscle groups. (All statues, at their infancy, are nude and anatomically correct.) “Without this process, statues look stiff, lifeless, and void of emotion.”
Delesprie uses techniques such as the Baroque Spiral and Privileged Perspective. These techniques ensure that her sculptures look beautiful from all sides, not just one.
The sculpture starts by welding a steel frame that supports the clay. This is called the armature. Once that’s made, Delesprie creates the bones – the arms, the pelvis, the wrist bones, etc. She forms the clay and adds it to the steel frame. Then she adds muscle group by muscle group to the clay bones. The top part of the clay muscles are then smoothed to form the sculpture’s skin. Then details such as fingernails, ears and facial features are added using dental tools for fine detail. Hair and clothing are added last. These can be the most difficult and time consuming part of the sculpture.
This high attention to detail has produced world class statues of fine art prized by prominent organizations and celebrities such as Carnegie Mellon Foundation, Jenny Craig, Ray Crok (McDonald’s), Arnold Schwartzenegger, Jimmy Stewart, and Sylvester Stallone.
You too can own a Delesprie sculpture. It will be a stunning focal point that your friends will both envy and admire.
Read about the Lost Wax Process
(Also known as the “Cire Perdue” Process)
The Lost Wax Process is labor intensive and relatively expensive. Depending on the size of the sculpture it takes 3-6 months to sculpt the statue. The shell casting alone can take up to three to six months – a process which employs an additional 13 full time workers / artisans.
The Rubber Mold
A flexible rubber mold is made from the artist’s original clay. This modern material is able to capture every detail. On a monumental size the molds take a couple of months. The molds are done in sections, for example there would be a mold on the arms, hands, the lower torso, upper torso, head and any other protruding fabric or details like long hair. The original clay is removed from the molds.
Molten wax is then poured into the rubber mold, producing a casting of the original in 3D. It is called a wax pattern.
Once cooled the wax casting is removed from the mold, one of our artisans hand-finishes it to perfectly match the original sculpture using dental tools and heat tools, the artist then oversees and adds final details.
An elaborate system of Wax rods called gates or sprues are applied to the wax casting.
The wax casting is coated with many layers of a liquid refractory ceramic material, creating a stable mold and allows it to cure for several weeks. It is able to withstand temperatures to 3500° Fahrenheit.
The ceramic mold is put into a Octoclave (Kiln that produces extremely high temperatures), which bakes the ceramic and burns out the wax, leaving a hollow cavity in its place. Any remaining wax is steamed out to clean the mold of all wax remains. – thus the term, Lost Wax Process.
The ceramic mold is then filled with molten bronze at a temperature to 3500° Fahrenheit. (Bronze is an alloy of 85% copper, 5% lead, 5% tin and 5% zinc.) The price of bronze statues is based on all the labor and the price of mostly copper and all the sophisticated materials.
After the bronze shell has cooled, the ceramic mold is carefully hammered and chiseled away, revealing the bronze sculpture within.
Fine sand particles are blasted under air pressure to remove the last traces of ceramic shell that adhere to the bronze.
The raw casting is then turned over to another artisan who cuts away the gates and sprues. The bronze parts are welded together like a large puzzle and then re-detailed using pneumatic tools (also known as air tools). The artist may have to rework areas in the bronze. The sculpture is glass bead blasted for a fine bronze finish before the patina.
The chased(re-detailed) bronze is now treated with acid; using a blow torch the bronze is heated and acid is sprayed on it to give it the chosen color according to the artist’s specifications and the clients wishes. This patina is now a permanent part of the sculpture. Two to three layers of protective coating are added to stop the process of oxidation and seal the emerged color. The monument is ready for installation. Large stainless steel pipes 2-3 feet are welded inside the monument and these same pipes extend out another 2-3 feet, these pipes will be place into the cement for permanency. Throughout the process the artist oversees all steps to ensure quality and the adherence to the original.