Campus Scene

Casting a Spell

  • Student sculptors at Cal Poly Humboldt get the incredible opportunity to cast and fabricate their creations in molten bronze in the Foundry.
  • It’s one of the hottest tools available to students who have many ways to bring their ideas into a three-dimensional reality.
  • Many civilizations have worked in bronze—a blend of copper and tin—dating back to at least 2500 BCE. Bronze is strong and less brittle than other kinds of metals, and it lends well to fine detail in molds, and is malleable by tools when it’s hardened.
  • Humboldt’s bronze sculptors start by creating a full-size model of their sculpture with a material like clay, 3D printing, or cast from life. Using that replica, they prepare a mold using a pliable material. Wax is then poured into the mold, creating a shell where bronze will be poured.
  • Pouring is one of the most exciting, but safely performed, steps of the foundry process. The bronze is heated to about 2,000 degrees in a furnace and carefully poured into a shell by a team of students, staff, and faculty. Once the bronze is cool, it is broken out of the shell; then finished, polished, and patinated.