Philip Hearsay

Bronze vessels are solid and heavy and are formed using the sand-casting process. The procedure requires an original pattern, of which the casting is a replica, to form a hollow impression in special casting sand. Into which, the molten bronze is poured. The work does not exist as any meaningful entity before it appears in bronze. Until then it is simply a casting pattern, a tool to be used in transforming the idea into a three dimensional reality. The sand casting process is relentless and unforgiving as the patterns must withstand considerable abuse and the sand foundry is no place for a delicate original. It is also restrictive and, denying complexity of form, imposes a simplicity that is both disciplinary and at the same time, enriching. Each casting roughly replicates the original pattern but requires considerable work to refine and finish the surface and form. Sometimes the casting is cut, pierced or individually shaped to create a unique version and although born from a common original, it is truly a one-off piece. The rim is critical; it is the interface between the container and that which is contained, it is most usually bright polished and not only reveals the beauty, colour and solidity of the material but crucially exemplifies any asymmetry or dichotomy between the outer surface of the piece as a whole, the “container” and the space or void that is contained. The patination process presents challenging, unpredictable and seemingly endless possibilities.