With a few notable exceptions the metal alloys used for casting sculpture have a dull and uninteresting visual quality when first broken out of their REFRACTORY MOULD after casting. The alloy’s natural appearance, superficial oxidisation and the coarse grain effect through contact with refractory surfaces, can give the design an AS CAST surface which bears little resemblance to the enhanced finishes visible on most of the sculptures exhibited in art galleries and public spaces. To modify the visual appearance of a cast, the founder cosmetically works the sculpture’s surfaces to achieve one of two principal finishes – either a POLISH, or a chemically induced PATINA.
The following articles outline the basic processes used by founders to finish sculpture and design casts. The articles try to offer an insight on how an artist can obtain optimum results by working closely with their founder. For those artists wishing to experiment with (patinated) finishes for themselves, some basic guidelines are offered and a few basic foundry patination recipes are provided as a primer.