what to look for when selecting a foundry
As a professional sculptor, there are many decisions you are required to make. Not only do you spend countless hours creating your treasured piece of art, you must decide which foundry you will pass this valued piece on to. Keep in mind, this is a lengthy process which should be taken very serious. Here are some issues that require consideration.
1. Quality and Satisfaction
When choosing a foundry, one of the most important factors is their quality of work. One of the best ways to find this out is by asking another artist for their recommendation. Or better yet, ask to see their work that has been done at the foundry they recommend. If you can't personally see a piece of their work, ask for their website to view their gallery. If you are new and don't have a personal reference, the internet is rich with resources for locating a facility to get your questions and concerns answered. Simply search for fine art foundries, bronze foundries, or even just foundry should get you pointed in the right direction. Dig deep into each foundries website to see their processes, images, contact information and ideally a list of artists they have worked with. If they list their artists, don't be afraid to contact one or several of them to get a recommendation.
Whatever method you choose, you should know there are a number of art foundries to choose from. But finding the right foundry for your specific needs depends on several issues. While price and location are key, quality and satisfaction are the most important.
2. Technical Process and Equipment
It's important to look for a foundry that casts artwork solely. A foundry that deals exclusively with artwork has the technical expertise to cast and finish your work as desired. Since they only deal with artists, they tend to speak the same language. Many of the foundries in the United States use the lost wax casting process. There are more art foundries casting work on a small scale than there are on a large scale. It's important to choose a foundry that does both. You may be starting out with a small piece, but you never know when that large commission will come. You want to be prepared and have access to a facility that can meet all your needs.
3. Communication and Reputation
Before choosing a foundry, arrange for a visit early in the process. Bring a model of your current piece, (if possible) and a list of questions and concerns. Your first encounter will tell you a lot about the foundry. Make sure you are comfortable talking with either the foundry representative or owner. It's important to communicate freely with this person since they will most likely be your number one contact during the entire process and hopefully many more to come. Don't worry, it's not unusual for a first time customer to be cautious and overprotective of their vision, knowing they are trusting someone with the technical expertise to make their hard effort come to life in a professional and timely manner. If you can't reasonably make the trip to the foundry and just want to try them out with a small piece, most foundry websites have a quote or bid request form you can easily access giving them all the details to give you an accurate estimate. If further questions are required, they can simply pick up the phone or email you for specifics. Including photos with multiple views and dimensions is almost always required.
Other questions to ask include the number of years in business. A reputable foundry will be proud of their invested time. Also ask for qualifications of their employees. Most fine art foundries are known for their skilled artisans. Also ask about contracts, molds, mold storage, size limitations, editions, materials costs, patina choices, bases and delivery process. And of course a payment schedule or plan needs to be discussed immediately as well. The more questions you ask up front, the better the experience. No one likes surprises during or at the end. Of course, the unexpected can happen, but if you clearly make the best effort to get all your questions answered up front, the better off the experience will be as a whole. Keep in mind that you will most likely use this foundry again and again so communication and trust is key!
Ideally, a foundry should be close by, providing it offers the service and technical needs you require. People tend to work with foundries a short distance away because they feel they need to keep track of the process. However, the nearest foundry may not always offer the best quality. Many foundries, like Bronze Services, cast work for artists all over the country. With the advancement of technology, it's very reasonable to work with a foundry several states away.
It is important for you to visit the foundry for an initial tour. This is your first impression. Take a tour and pay attention to the surroundings. Are the artisans (workers) active and engaged paying attention to detail? Is there good camaraderie between the staff and guests? Do you feel comfortable and welcome? Do they listen and understand your requirements? The more the staff knows about you, the better the working relationship. The quality will be enhanced by developing a sense of trust and an enthusiastic concern for a healthy working relationship. By investing your time in this first visit, it will eliminate the question of doubt and/or frustration in the future.
Bronze Services of Loveland, Inc.
140 2nd. Street SE, Loveland, CO 80537
140 2nd. Street SE, Loveland, CO 80537