I had never worked directly in wax and didn’t quite know what to expect. I arrived at the foundry with Icarus poured in plaster and held up with a long metal rod I had inserted in a tender spot of his anatomy. After some trial and error, I had decided on how high I wanted him to fly and how the cloth would drape his loins and support him in the air.
I exposed my dilemma to the foundry owners and one of them suggested that I work directly with a sheet of soft wax to create the cloth effect. The wax expert, Josée was excited about this suggestion and poured a large quantity of red wax in a mould, creating a slab I could handle once it had cooled.
What a feeling! I loved handling the thick red wax and shaping it into a feminine swirl that complements Icarus’ muscular physique. The wax followed its own rules as it hardened. We had to move quickly to shape the final folds, and use a hot knife to remove the excess and smooth the edges.
What I found out after the fact, was that this process created an infinite number of crevasses that would need to be filled to avoid negative angles where the silica would catch. I also hadn’t quite grasped that the wax would be lost and the silica mould broken, so that once the robe was fused onto the figurine, it would not be possible to cast another Icarus without making the robe again from scratch. Live and learn, n’est-ce pas?
Next steps: Casting Icarus and his beautiful robe in bronze.