After completing the original plaster casts, I have made silicone forms and brushed them with wax. Now, the wax forms are ready to go to the founder’s.
The unfinished castings are back from the founder’s who cast them in silicate bronze.
A lot of lose ends, remnants from the cast, want cutting off.
The faces are black from the furnace and still have their casting skin.
Leftovers from the cast are not only on the back but may also cover the face of the death mask itself.
I have chemically taken the casting skin off the faces.
These masks are still waiting for their chemical bath. With their rugged edges I have to be careful not to cut myself.
Wet from the chemicals, the masks are left to dry.
Even though all of them are cast of silicate bronze mixed with the same formula, each of them comes out with a slightly different colour, varying from copper reddish to a dark grey and a yellowish brass colour.
Some come out of the furnace blinking like gold, others are completely mat.
I am amazed at how many there are. These are only 36 masks, only about a third of them all. I have taken them into my workshop.
Before I start working, I have to fix the bronze. There is nothing more dangerous than three kilogram of bronze gyrating through a workshop.
With my angle grinder, I start cutting off the surplus bronze from the back of the mask.
In my workshop, I cut and grind up to several hours to finish a bronze mask.
It is a dangerous work. Protection is required for eyes, face, ears, hands, body, and feet. Fresh air is important since dangerous fumes arise.
Every surface in the workshop is covered with fine bronze swarf.
I am cutting off excess bronze.
Chasing the mouth
After cutting, grinding, filing and chasing the finished face is lying amongst its bed of swarf. A moment of great satisfaction.
All the bronzes have been chiselled and are now ready for the next step...
...to be mounted in an upright position.
This is done at a different workshop. Claus is marking the point at the back of the mask where he is going to weld the support.
Correct position? Not too high? Not too low?
Correct angle of the face?
Together, we mount the masks on the support: I decide upon angle and position, and Claus, on the other side of the mask, fixes it with a first welding spot.
Right after the welding, I can still alter the position slightly.
Mask m101 is in correct position.
The row is getting longer.
The welding has discoloured the chins of the masks. They will have to be cleaned next.
Applying the patina / sealing the surface
Applying the patina / sealing the surface
Sealing the surface of the hot bronze by applying beeswax
Where do you put 102 masks in an orderly household?
Photo shooting. I build a light trap and photograph all of the masks.
Each mask wants different light, a different position and, like every other portrait, a different angle which shows its individuality.
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