Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” – Banksy

How Steve Lillegard Casts a Bronze Sculpture

How sculptor Steve Lillegard casts a bronze sculpture is a fascinating process. He shares the lost wax casting process below with studio photos.

Over the years, Lillegard’s bronze sculptures have sold well on our eBay store, Kelly’s Collectibles and Online Art Gallery. After each sale, I email Lillegard a pre-paid label and he packages and ships the sculpture directly to the buyer. Teamwork at its best!

If, however, the sculpture is not in stock, Lillegard quickly casts one on his own property in Sanford, Montana.  Because Lillegard casts his own work in his own studio, he is able to experiment with the strength of bronze to better depict the story he is trying to tell.

What is a Bronze Sculpture

A bronze sculpture is a three-dimensional piece of art created from molten bronze. Bronze is an alloy of two metal elements copper and tin. Although the ratio has varied in the past, strict ratios must be used today to qualify as ‘bronze’.

Bronze statues are made via a process known as casting which involves pouring the molten metal into a suitable mold and leaving it to cool and solidify. Otherwise known as the lost wax casting process.

Identifying Limited Edition Sculptures

Once a sculptor creates a bronze sculpture, it can be cast and sold as many times as the Limited Edition series allows. If the numbers etched into a sculpture show 12/25, that means you have the twelfth bronze that was cast in a series of 25.  After the final piece in the series is cast, the mold is retired and there will be no more produced. If the piece is cast as an Open Edition, then it can be sold indefinitely.

Although the process of creating a bronze sculpture can be costly and time-consuming, the returns are worth the time and investment.

About the Artist Steve Lillegard

Steve Lillegard’s interest and passion for art have been life-long. Throughout school and while majoring in art at Montana State University, he experimented with as many kinds of art and mediums as was possible.

Intrigued by the challenge of working in a three-dimensional art form, Lillegard returned to his hometown of Stanford, Montana in 1981 and embarked upon a career in sculpture. His first commercial success with bronze sculpture was with a piece depicting a white wolf famous in the area to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Stanford. The edition of 75 sold out within weeks.

Continuing with his success, Lillegard won a competition to create a life-size sculpture of a Revolutionary War soldier for a new school in North Pole, Alaska. Following these early successes, he proceeded to interpret the history and wildlife of rural Montana in sculpture.

He has since participated in numerous juried art shows throughout the West and has been asked to do commission work for many individuals and corporations. As a sculptor, he strives to create a mood or tell a story in an interesting way. Bronze allows him to do things that cannot be done in other mediums.

View Steve Lillegard’s bronze sculptures on our eBay store.

Steve Lillegard bronze sculpture casting lost wax

How Steve Lillegard Casts a Bronze Sculpture

Courtesy of Steve Lillegard’s Website

Clay Mold

First, the bronzes take shape as modeled clay. Lillegard adds, peels and scrapes until the shape resembles what he sees in his mind’s eye.

 

Silicone Rubber Shell

Next, a silicone rubber shell is pasted around the clay, preserving delicate intricacies. A plaster shell is then added for strength, then Lillegard splits the shell open and removes the clay.

 

Molten Wax Fills Mold

After re-joining the plaster and rubber, Lillegard fills the mold with molten wax. When the wax hardens, he peels away the rubber. The wax replica of the clay sculpture is then dipped in eight layers of a ceramic slurry.

 

Steve Lillegard bronze sculpture casting process

Heated in Kiln

This ceramic shell is placed in an insulated kiln, where forced gas is ignited and the temperature is raised to 1,600 degrees. At that point, the wax vaporizes. With help from his uncle, Glenn Lillegard, bronze is poured into the ceramic shell to replace the wax.

 

Cooling Process

When the bronze cools, Glenn removes the ceramic, first with a hammer and chisel, then with a sandblaster. Then, Lillegard uses a welder and pneumatic grinders to join parts and to touch up blemishes.

 

Patina and Finishing Touches

Steve Lillegard bronze sculpture patina process

Finally, chemicals are applied which brings out the bronze’s contrasting colors in a patina finish. The sculpture is then attached to the custom-designed and polished black walnut base. A signature plaque is set on the front of the base, and the bronze is ready to go.

Photograph and List for Sale

  • Title:  King of the Herd
  • Medium:  Bronze with walnut wood base
  • Open Edition
  • Brass Plaque features:  Title and Artists Name
  • Size: 3.75″ tall x 5″ wide x 2″ depth / walnut base adds 1″ to height
  • Price $295

 

How to Find Steve Lillegard Bronze Sculptures

View Steve Lillegard bronze sculptures on our eBay store.

Kelly’s Collectibles – Collectors

On Kelly’s Collectibles and Online Art Gallery on eBay, browse through hundreds of hand-picked pieces of collectibles and artwork from emerging to national and international-acclaimed artists. From paintings to sculptures and beyond, we have something you’ll love! View live listings on our eBay store.

Kelly’s Collectibles – Artist Representation

I have been selling art for artists and creators over the past 10 years. I’ve visited their studios and attended their booths at art shows. I know the challenges they face to get their art in front of a qualified buyer. That’s where I come in. Let’s sell your art so you do what you do best – – create more art! Artists learn more here.

I LOVE helping hard-working, heart-centered, talented artists discover how they can supercharge their sales in a professional way. By increasing their reach through the 180 million users on eBay, emerging and seasoned artists benefit with more exposure and sales. And that makes everyone happy!

Kelly’s Collectibles – Consignors

Do you have things laying around that could bring in extra cash?  We offer consignment services for those who don’t have the time or the know-how to sell their own items. There are no upfront fees and we only get paid if your items sell. Find out more about our consignment services here.

Learn more about Kelly’s Collectibles and Online Art Gallery here.

Kelly Shaeffer

Kelly Shaeffer

Kelly’s Collectibles and Online Art Gallery connects emerging, national and international artists with art collectors. Whether you are an artist or a consignor looking to sell your art or collectibles, we can get your items sold using the Ebay platform that is visible to millions of global collectors.
Kelly Shaeffer
Kelly’s Collectibles and Online Art Gallery connects emerging, national and international artists with art collectors. Whether you are an artist or a consignor looking to sell your art or collectibles, we can get your items sold using the Ebay platform that is visible to millions of global collectors.

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