Steps of manufacturing
A window on the way the lost-wax bronzes are made
MODEL-MAKING BY SCULPTING THE WAX
The achievement of the bronze statue begin with the artist modelling an original model made in bee wax. On the picture we can see Issouf Bonkoungou and one of his apprentice.
MANUFACTURE OF THE BASE
ASSEMBLY OF THE DIFFERENT PARTS
Once the mold is dry, it is heated for the wax melts and flows out through the openings. The artist collects it in a container.
The melted bronze is casted and it fills the print left by the melted wax. Once the bronze is solidified and has grown cold, the mold is broken in order to extract the sculpture: thus each item is unique. At this stage, many defects remain, scories has to be removed. Then follows a long and delicate finishing work before finding again the bronze copy true to the initial wax sculpture.
DRAPING OF THE STATUE
ONE OF THE WORKSHOP ROOM
The artist has to prepare the clay blended with donkey manure for the future mold.Once the model is prepared, the artist prepare the mold. It's beginning by shaping the blowhole. Indeed, one or more openings are made for the wax to flow out and for the bronze to be cast in and for air to escape. The sculpture is then molded by applying carefully the clay blended on it, a very resistant material
CLAY LAYING ON THE SCULPTURE
FUSED PIECES TO MAKE BRONZE
FEW FINISHING STEPS
Issouf Bonkoungou, an artist with a big heart
Issouf learned how to make lost-wax bronzes from a young age on his father's lap.
In Burkina Faso, it is an art that is passed from father to son.
Growing up, he decided to improve and wanted to go further to develop his skills and sufficient background to explore his own artistic universe.
He thus carries out training by the craft center in order to complete the know-how transmitted by his father and to unleash his creativity to design new models. He begins to differentiate his production on the local market.
He continues to seek new ideas, new techniques, new styles and everything to improve his art and the quality of his products.
He also made important choices. In Burkina Faso, those who work with artists are paid for the task. But if the activity is insufficient, there is no salary. So, from the start, he decided to train and hire his apprentices to pay their salaries, give them a share in the decisions of the company and give them bonuses on profits.
But it's not just about money, every week, they all meet to share new ideas, share the challenges they may have and the solutions they may have found. Everyone has a say in improving their style or the organization of the workshop. He created a large family dedicated to improving a common art.