The Making of an Armature - Life Size

Here are a few wax castings of the maquette of St. Anthony. These are lying on a table in the metal chasing room and Steve is using them to measure when building the armature.

Above: Steve is finishing up the last details on the arm.

Take a close look at the head of the armature! They constructed it so the head of St. Anthony and the Child's Head can come off! We had to make certain the sculpture could come in and out of my studio since the height of the garage door opening is only 82". We later found that the height was also important for getting it in the truck!

Above: Steve, at the Bronze Works (Foundry located in Tacoma, WA) is welding up the armature for the life size sculpture of St Anthony & Child. Sculpture Commissioned by Franciscan Health System's new St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor.

Once the maquette (1/4 life size version) was completed I took it to the Bronze Works Foundry to get molded, and then they cast a couple waxes for being cast into Bronze (we'll cover that process later). Because the life size is so much bigger, the armature (structural "bones") have to get welded up and secured well at the waist. This will make it more stable to handle the weight of the clay, working on it, and the transportation back to the foundry after it is completed.

Above you can see the stick figures of both the Child and St. Anthony. It is very important the armature is mathematically correct and in the proper locations such as the ankles, arms of the child, and the shoulders. It is also important to have the overall gesture of the figure. If you don't you may have pieces of your armature sticking out of the surface of your clay and you will have to pull clay off and fix it (if it is simple enough....)

At this stage you have to forget about shapes and forms, get over the fact that you are looking at a 3-D stick figure.......And think visually how best to get the bones in the proper places....!!! It can be quite mind numbing.