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Couple open gallery devoted to sculpture

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 12, 2013

Carl Longworth

Carl Longworth

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A COUPLE who have carved out careers in bronze sculpture have now opened their own gallery in Leek.

 

Carl Longworth and Rachel Talbot, who both live in Leek, are bronze sculptors and have set up a gallery of their work in Getliffe's Yard, off Derby Street, in Leek.

Having been based in Leek from early on in their careers, the couple felt the time was right to show the town what they can do, having exhibited in galleries across the country, and oversees in recent times, for years.

Carl, aged 34, originates from Cheltenham, Gloucester, and moved to Leek with his fiance Rachel, who originates from the town, after they met and studied together at university.

He said: "When I moved to Leek I started out by working with other artists before funding my own venture into bronze.

"I worked as a studio assistant , helping with big commission pieces to get a broader understanding of the process of bronze casting, patternation and how foundries work.

"As soon as I had an understanding I started developing my own style of work, then I was able to fund castings in bronze."

Mr Longworth has been casting work in bronze for eight years; he works with galleries up and down the country and has just broken into America so he will be working with a gallery there.

"Leek's a lovely town and is flourishing; it's been a great experience and everyone around here has been very supportive.

"It's an ideal base and it's great that we've been able to bring this to Leek, as there's nothing else like this here, it also means we can bring our client base here to show them our work, and they will then visit other businesses.

Carl and Rachel use the Lost Wax process (see below) and on average a piece can take between four to six months and more than a year for the larger pieces to complete.

Mr Longworth added: "We tend to work on a few pieces at the same time and balance between them."

Rachel Talbot grew up in artistic surroundings and has been sculpting and working professionally ever since she was 19.

She attended the same university as Mr Longworth and then went straight into casting her work in bronze and has been sculpting now for over 10 years.

Mr Longworth said: "Rachel has always been very focused with her work and what she wanted to do and has a very specific client base and is very well sought after.

"She has worked really hard throughout her career from a young age and I couldn't be more proud or in awe of her.

"It's a nice business to work in together and we have met great people; our pieces, although very different in style, compliment each other."

The gallery is open in Getliffe's Yard on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 10pm and 5pm.

AN original sculpture is first created using a material such as wax or clay.

A rubber mould is made from the original sculpture in order to create duplicates of the original design.

The mould captures every detail from the original sculpture.

Molten wax is poured into the rubber mould to form a wax copy of the original sculpture. The hot wax cools and hardens.

The wax casting is removed from the mould arid further work performed by hand to produce an exact pattern of the original sculpture.

Wax rods ("gates") are attached to the wax pattern to allow the even flow of molten metal avoiding the trapping of air and gas.

The wax is then coated with several layers of a liquid refectory ceramic {"investment") and allowed to cure for several days.

The hard heat-resistant shell with the wax inside is fired in a kiln.

The ceramic shell is baked and the wax melts away to leave a cavity (hence the term "lost wax")

Molten bronze is heated to a very high temperature and is poured into the cavity.

Once cooled, the ceramic shell is broken away to reveal a bronze sculpture.

Traces of ceramic shell are removed from the bronze by sandblasting.

The sprues (a sprue is the passage through which molten material is introduced into a mould) and gates are cut away and further work is performed by chasing, sanding and polishing to achieve an exact copy of the original sculpture.

A patina finish is created on the bronze surfaces.

A chosen colour is applied with the use of chemicals and is heated with the flame of a torch to add colour and shading to the sculpture.

The patina is sealed under a wax coating.

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