How the Child in the Park was made - FoLM

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How the Child in the Park was made

The Park
A full-sized clay model of the child and the base was made, using a real child as a model. Before work could start on the sculpture it was necessary to have a framework made of steel and aluminium. The clay was carefully built up on this framework and from an early stage John produced the aesthetically pleasing but abstract shapes that he wished to develop into the life-like statue. During this whole process the clay statue needed spraying several times a day to keep it damp, so that John could work on it

When this was finished to everyone’s satisfaction, a layer of chemical-setting rubber was put onto the clay statue. This was then covered with a layer of plaster in sections which, when hard completed the mould which was then taken off the clay.
After that, the mould was taken to the foundry where a wax replica was made from the mould. John then worked on this further, adding all the small details of the creatures and leaves.
Wax runners and risers were added to the wax, these were used to enable the molten bronze to run into and reach all parts of the mould.
The final mould was created from the detailed wax by building up layers of silica-based materials creating a “shell”.
The first layers being made from fine silica, in liquid form, so as to pick up all the detail. The whole shell was then fired in a kiln in a similar way to pottery.
Over a period of several days the wax melted out and was collected leaving a void or space, which was the exact replica of the statue.

When the mould had cooled it was placed in a large sandbox so as to support the mould helping it to resist the pressures of the molten metal. Molten bronze was very carefully poured into the mould and allowed to cool and set.

The following day the mould was cracked open to reveal the bronze statue for the first time. The extra metal mainly related to the runners and risers was removed and the final statue was polished or chased until smooth, adding all the final surface details. The finished statue was then coloured giving it a long lasting patination.

The final operation was to install and fix the statue securely to its brick-clad concrete plinth in the Garden of the Child in Lake Meadows Park.
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