|Today we traveled to the Shidoni Bronze Foundry a few miles north of Santa Fe. Madolyn found it in a book she bought on places where you can go to see things Made in the U.S.A. and it sounded interesting. They do castings for artists of their sculpture in bronze, and they pour about 50 tons of bronze a year - sometimes as much as 700 pounds into a single mold. Shidoni did 14 bronze racehorses that stand in front of the track in Lexington, Kentucky and they did a bronze cattle drive that stands in front of a stadium in Houston, Texas.
Saturday is the best day to visit the foundry because that is a day when they usually do several pourings. We arrived a little after noon and visited one of their two galleries, then took the self guided tour of the foundry before the 2:00 o’clock pour. Artists bring their originals to the foundry, made usually of wax, plaster or ceramic, and molds are made that utilize the ‘Lost Wax’ process. It is a long and complicated process, and I don’t understand it enough to fully describe it here, but seeing the foundry and seeing sculpture in the many stages of the process gives us a real appreciation for the work that goes into the simplest piece of bronze sculpture.
The best part of the visit was watching the actual pour, where a group of three men took molds that had been preheated and poured molten bronze into them. The metal is heated to 2,100 degrees, and watching it being poured is a fascinating experience. Lighting in the workshop was dim, but fortunately a number of pictures turned out well enough to post here. After the pouring we toured the outdoor sculpture gardens, then visited a glass shop next door where we bought a lovely glass seashell made by a woman there.
We topped the day off with a great dinner at a nearby restaurant, and then headed back to camp