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Sculpture Making

Alex Paul Loza - Thaddeus Stevens maquette


The first step after client signs a contract agreement is the creation of a small clay rough study, better known as a maquette. The purpose of the maquette is to work out the pose and for the client to get an idea of how the sculpture will look like. Client has the opportunity to offer feedback and make changes if needed before I start creating the large scale sculpture.  


Once the pose has been worked out I use the maquette as a guide to build an armature using metal pipes, pvc pipes and foam. This stage is critical as it would not only serve as support for the clay sculpture but  it has to be proportionate and anatomically correct so the figure can resemble humanlike qualities. 

Sculpting Thaddeus Stevens 4
Sculpting Thaddeus Stevens 23


An oil based clay is applied over the armature. The following months in the studio are spent sculpting the figure using the maquette and reference photos to better capture the likeness and essence of the sitter. Once client is happy and has accepted the clay model, the next step is transforming the clay model into a bronze figure. 


This is the step of making a complete negative of the entire clay model. It usually takes 3-5 days to complete. First a layer of rubber is painted over the clay to capture all the details of the sculpture. Then a hard shell with fiberglass is put over in panels. Once dried all panels are carefully  pulled off and the mold is taken apart. 

Thaddeus Stevens - mold making
Thaddeus Stevens - mold making
Alex Paul Loza at foundry approving Thaddeus Stevens wax cast before bronze casting
investment mold on Thaddeus Stevens by Alex Paul Loza


A few layers of wax is brushed into the mold. Once the wax hardens we made an empty shell that looks exactly like the sculpted piece. Wax sculpture is dipped into a ceramic mixture multiple times creating a thick shell to then place it into a very hot furnace. The wax melts and runs out leaving an empty ceramic mold shell ready for bronze to be poured into. 


All bronze pieces are welded together and seamlines are worked on to ensure that they disappear. Sculpture is sandblasted and ready for the last step, the patina. A patina is applied to get the color desired on the bronze. Finally a wax coating is applied for protection.  

Thaddeus a Stevens - raw bronze
patina on Thaddeus Stevens by Alex Paul Loza


Lastly, bronze sculpture is delivered and installed, and ready for the unveiling ceremony. 

installation og Thaddeus Stevens in Gettysburg
covered Thaddeus Stevens monument ready for unveiling ceremony- Alex Paul Loza
Alex Paul Loza unveiling Thaddeus Stevens monument In Gettysburg, PA
Unveiling ceremony - Thaddeus Stevens by Alex Paul Loza
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