Frequently Asked Questions


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PLease contact us if any more question remains. Thank you!


Life at the Farmhouse:

Can I bring my partner or a friend who does not participate in the course?
Can I have a private room?
What kind of beds do you have for the students?
What about students with a special diet (vegetarians, etc.)?
Where does the course take place?

The course:
When are the courses offered?
At the end of the course, will I simply know the Lost Wax Bronze Casting technique or will I also have some good tips on starting my own foundry?
When was this course first done?
It is sufficient if you follow the advice and instruction given?
What skills does the instructor have?
To start a foundry, what equipment do you need and what would be the total budget?

About the Students
How many students have taken the course so far?
Which skills and what proficiency should you master to take this course?
What is the average age of the students?
How many students have created their own foundry?
How many became professionals, or are making money in this field?
How many made bronze casting their hobby?

 


Life at the Farmhouse:

Can I bring my partner or a friend who does not participate in the course?
Yes, your spouse-friend is welcome. Depending on availability, he or she can stay at the house. The cost for the extra person will be 304 € (2000 F).

Can I have a private room?
One of the rooms is a private double room with its own bathroom. First come, first serve! Reserve as soon as possible.

What kind of beds do you have for the students?
The students sleep in wood beds, size 90 x 200 cm with cotton sheets and a warm duvet in winter. You will feel good between these ancient stone walls. The house has been renovated, keeping its original charm intact, while at the same time there are modern bathrooms and facilities.

What do about students with a special diet (vegetarians, etc.)?
We will do all we can to respect requests for a special diet (vegetarian, low salt, etc.) Please contact us as early as possible so we can discuss the details.

Where does the course take place?
In an old Provencal farmhouse in the heart of a vineyard, 13 km northeast of Orange, in the south of France (Vaucluse).
This ancient farm, built over 200 years ago, is constructed in such a way as to protect it from the Mistral (strong northern wind). The house has constant sun exposure, but stays cool during the hot days. We are in the heart of what is called Provence: Traditional markets, Mediterranean gastronomy, great wines, old walls, historical sites, and aromatic herbs…

To give you an idea, you will find:
Within a 20 kilometer drive:
Vaison-la-Romaine (Roman ruins), Suze-la-Rousse (Wine University), Nyons (traditional town, typical of the Drôme Provençale - starting point of many walking trails), Orange (gigantic Roman theatre, still used for opera), the Dentelles de Montmirail (rocky mountain chain, renowned for scaling).

Within a 40-kilometer drive:
Buis-les-Baronnies (Provencal village where it is said that Hannibal and his elephants came through on their travels), Avignon (its Popes’ Palace, its old town and its crown of uninterrupted fortifications), the Mont Ventoux of which we have a magnificent view from the house (summit at 2000 m, famous part of the Tour de France).
We have some old but working bicycles that will allow you to discover the small roads around the property.
During the week you will have time off on Wednesday afternoon. And a well-deserved break before the second part of the course.


The course:

When are the courses offered?
A course runs for five days, a minimum of two courses per month. The dates are flexible. Generally, the first students that register decide when the course will take place.
There will be no courses in summer (late July and August), because of the heat. However, we like to be flexible. Please contact us if you wish to discuss specific dates.

At the end of the course, will I simply know the Lost Wax Bronze Casting technique or will I also have some good tips on starting my own foundry?
The course will not only give you technical information about the lost wax casting, but also about molding, heating, construction of a de-waxing oven and bronze melting oven, about the melting itself and the patina of the bronze. We will also examine an example of a workshop layout. You will have the time to ask all questions necessary for you to create your own small but efficient foundry at home, using very little space.

When was this course first done?
The first course began on July 3rd, 1989 at the Mas de Fléchon, in the heart of the Alpilles, close to Maussane-les-Alpilles, right next to the Baux-de-Provence, in the south of France.
The course was conceived after two years of try-outs and research, because there are no Art Foundry workshops or books that teach the secrets (the real ones, the ones that are fundamental for a working foundry). Two years of work, try-outs, failures, successes, disappointments and discoveries are crammed into five days of an intense course program. However, the different phases that lead to the creation of a bronze sculpture with patina are explained systematically. The purpose is to render the process straightforward (or almost…). One week to learn a craft; that seems very short!

It is sufficient if you follow the advice and instruction given?
Step by step, you will be guided towards the goal of understanding this art. The different phases - the creation of the elstomer mold, the creation of the wax copy, the coating of the pieces with refractory material, the baking of the molds, the pouring, the chiseling and the patination – all these age-old techniques are adapted to a five-day course. This time period is considered optimum for a good “digestion” of the information presented during the course.
In recent years, certain innovations allowed for a time-reduction of some segments, and therefore we can now cast the bronze on the fourth day (when molding in a block), and the third day (when molding in a shell.) We allow more time for the finishing process and the questions students might have, especially about building their own foundry.
One of the keys to your success is to start with objects of the same size as the sculpture you cast at the course: Building a house is simpler than building an apartment building, even if the basic technique is the same!
For those among you who will start their own small foundry, we will always be available to discuss a problem and to help you with any problems you might have with your future cast bronzes. There is no time limit; your success will be a great pleasure for us!

What skills does the instructor have?
I created the course and simplified the technique in order to make it accessible to all, men and women. My studies (INSA-MBA engineer) have certainly helped me to create this course, systematic and logical. However, the development of a workshop, once you learn the basic principles, is accessible to anyone. The same for the course. The priority here is to put the technique within everyone’s reach. We want each person to understand this art, and to leave happy with his or her sculpture and experience.
Modern materials have made the work easier and more precise. After the beginner’s course, you can use the shell molding technique (begun in the aerospace industry) for your block molding. This is was not possible in the old days. You can now obtain a more precise and quick result with less technical manipulation.
A summary of the whole course was published starting February 1989 in the periodical “Hommes et Fonderie”, of the French Casting Technique Association. You will find a copy if you click here (only in french)
Download the document (in french) "
Moulage élastomère" (click on the button on the right of your mouse > Download the linked article)
Download the document (in french) "Moulage réfractère Bloc et Carapace" (click on the button on the right of your mouse > Download the linked article).


To start a foundry, what equipment do you need and what would be the total budget?
To start, you need a budget of 1500 €. You can make your own ovens; you will have all necessary details from the course.
For the molding work you need a table of 2 m2. The workshop should have a minimum surface of 4m x 4m.
You can bake your molds and cast your first bronze pieces at my foundry if you do not wish to invest in a de-waxing and melting oven immediately. In that case, your investment is only 150 €.


About the Students

How many students have taken the course so far?
More than 850 students, of which 24% were women.


Which skills and what proficiency should you master to take this course?
Once the procedures have been explained and taken apart in detail, they are accessible to any interested/attentive person.
The invention of bronze casting and de-waxing ovens with thermal insulation made of ceramic fiber has allowed the creation of a foundry with a minimal investment and a construction time of about one day.
You may compare this to a complicated kitchen recipe, rather than to the long apprenticeship of a juggler, a magician, a potter or a sculptor.
You do not need to be any kind of super technician or an expert in handiwork. However, you should listen and not be afraid to ask questions. I think it is evident that you cannot absorb more than 20 to 30% of the information given at one time. It may be helpful to repeat things a few times to get to 100%.
The students generally do not have any expertise in molding or casting and take this course because they are curious. (Only 5% of the students plan to build their own foundry, to become a professional.) A few students may create a hobby out of casting.
None of the phases require strength. If you can carry a bag of groceries you are strong enough. If you can take a serving dish out of you kitchen oven, you can stand the heat.


What is the average age of the students?
Probably between my daughter, who did her course at 10 years old (including casting the bronze) and a charming woman of 81 years of age (who arrived in her red convertible BMW with two youngsters, her girlfriends of 67 and 71 years old!)


How many students have created their own foundry?
37 students, of which 8 were women and 29 men. That is about six percent of all who have taken the course.


How many became professionals, or are making money in this field?
4 women and 10 men.


How many made bronze casting their hobby?
4 women and 19 men.



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