In an earlier blog I described what limited and open editions mean. They are the two most common bronze sculpture types.
Today I want to tackle a more unusual topic!
In the world of bronze the rarest type you’ll find is a one-of-a-kind sculpture. This means there is only one of that particular sculpture in existence, making it similar to a unique stone or woodcarving.
The sculpture is considered number 1 of an edition of 1, and is engraved as 1/1. I create 1/1 bronzes in basically the same manner as the limited editions, but with a few key differences.
First, I’m sculpting in a hard wax that can go directly to the foundry. This means my original design is dipped repeatedly in the ceramic slurry that forms a hard shell. The piece is then melted out of the shell and replaced with bronze. As you can imagine, it’s a little nerve-wracking!
Once cooled, the hard shell is smashed off revealing, hopefully, a bronze incarnation of my design.
Note that no mold is made, so the sculpture cannot be duplicated. For the sculptor (me) there is always the risk of investing a great deal of creative and sculpting time only to have it destroyed in the casting process.
You might wonder why I chose to create One-of-a-kinds, beyond simply being something of a risk taker. It’s simple: We creative types need to be in the studio designing and sculpting. Otherwise we get a little nuts. With my open and limited-editions, I often work with existing designs in a production role and spend rather less time creating new ones.
The One-of-a-kinds give me the opportunity to explore a variety of techniques, sculpting styles, and ways to express what I feel is wanting to be created. And with my column series I discovered a way to incorporate my oil painting. That was gobs of fun as well as challenging.
For the collector, beyond the intrinsic coolness of owning a truly original piece of art, there is a monetary value as well. Years ago I had an experience with a collector who loved my work, but only purchased bronzes that were in an edition of three or less. I didn’t have any pieces that met his parameters, but he was willing to pay vast amounts for that rarity.
With all of this said, I still stand by my belief that a collector should purchase a sculpture that speaks to them. Whether it be open, limited, or one-of-a-kind.