2012Hot2Cold travel blog

one of the Shidoni galleries


with a sculpture garden outside


the path to the foundry wanders through another sculpture garden

one of the foundry workrooms

a large sculpture (original) that has just had the first mold taken...


an interesting mixture of art and tools

some great work here




more work outside

they do a lot of welding here


this is where they will do the pour

the bronze is heating


one of the finished pieces in the gallery


a mold put together and ready to pour

the original and the mold pieces made from it

two originals!

in this photo you can see the rubber mold in the plaster...

they use a lot of wax here

this collection of tanks is almost a work of art in itself

an artist's original ready for the mold process

and another

one of the assembly rooms


they use a lot of chemicals here

workers suiting up for the pour


this is hot work

the bronze is in that furnace

and the molds are preheating in this one

they have an audience for the pour

they use a hoist to lift the bronze out of the furnace


it is heated to 2,100 degrees

the crucible will set fire to anything it touches

a thing of beauty in itself

now they're getting the molds out of the preheat furnace



the crucible is waiting and the cooling bronze forms a scum on...


using a hoist to move the hot molds

the steel ring will capture any spilled metal


a worker stirs the metal to melt the scum


the first pour

moving to the next mold


ready for a second pour


moving again

from another angle

another pour

and another

the final pour

it forms scum on the top as it cools

returning the crucible to the furnace

they add ingots of metal to replace the bronze they poured

you can see the glow in the mold

and this one is cooling

the furnace bottom lowers and turns out for the loading process

molds are set on the bottom plate

then it is raised into the furnace

close up of the molds

they're going into the preheat furnace

adding more ingots to the bronze furnace

they begin to melt as he tamps them down

time to rest and cool off

behind the foundry are piles of molds

and out front some finished statues - larger than life size or...

woman on a horse

beautiful work

a finished piece

another more abstract

this tortoise is mixed metal media

a view across the sculpture garden


with nature for a background

a look back at the foundry

a piece by California artist Philip Glasshof - called Bacon and Eggs

another piece by the same artist

and a goat by the same artist

a little bronze girl

this piece is priced at $30,000

a bison

this piece is titled Medicine Man

three beauties

this one is a fountain

the most expensive piece we saw - priced at $109,000

the inscription on the dancer

Don Quixote

an interesting snake

a lovely piece called Mujer del Lago - priced at $48,000






artists working in the glass studio

making this fish

adding some heat

taking it off the rod

and it will soon join this one in the gallery

the artist who made our shell

a great local restaurant featuring chilis and more chilis

the freeways here are works of art too

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 1.73 MB)

Pouring Bronze

(MP4 - 1.73 MB)

Another Pour

(MP4 - 2.04 MB)

Placing Bronze ingots in Crucible

(MP4 - 2.54 MB)

Moving Sculpture

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

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