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Parks Bronze Foundry

Parks Bronze Foundry

What a wonderful time I had going to my new foundry, Parks Bronze, in Enterprise, Oregon.  Want to share my foundry experience with you along with photos of Enterprise and the nearby town of Joseph (5 miles away).

First off, I’ll share some about the town of Joseph.  Here’s a photo entering Joseph, Oregon.

The town of Joseph, Oregon is nice little town.

The town of Joseph, Oregon is nice little town.

My husband had a fun time making a little video that we’ll put on YouTube of him giving his version of this sign.  These people really do feel like they live in Paradise and I can see why!  They say to slow down but we were crawling along so I bet they’d be glad if we went a little bit faster.  Lol.

Welcome sign in Joseph, Oregon made us laugh!

Welcome sign in Joseph, Oregon made us laugh!

There is one bronze foundry in Joseph, OR called Valley Bronze and two foundries in Enterprise, OR : Parks Bronze and I don’t recall the name of the other one. With all the local foundries it is no wonder that there are several bronze public art scuptures to enjoy. Some sculptors live in the area, including sculptor Rodd Ambroson who makes very beautiful figurative women sculpture.

"Attitude Adjustment" by Artist : Austin Barton

“Attitude Adjustment” by Artist : Austin Barton

The town of Joseph was named after Chief Joseph and there is a historic monument for his graveside outside the city near Wallowa Lake.

"Chief Joseph" looks over the city of Joseph along with several other bronzes.

“Chief Joseph” looks over the city of Joseph along with several other bronzes.

You might as well expect rivers to run to run backwards as any man born free to be contented penned up."

Chief Joseph- Hein-Mot too-Ya-la-kekt

Chief Joseph- Hein-Mot too-Ya-la-kekt

Lake Wallowa, seen below, is gorgeous with it’s snow capped moutains, red barn and deer in the foreground. I got hailed on just a few minutes after this pic was taken.  The deer were coming up to me so curious and friendly.  I hear winters get minus degree temperatures so I’ll save my visits to the spring or summer.  It was cold enough as it was in mid April as you can see with snow on the ground.

Gorgeous Wallowa Lake in Joseph, Oregon with a deer in picture.

Gorgeous Wallowa Lake in Joseph, Oregon with a deer in picture.

Now to the foundry…. here is point number one to just give an idea of the quality of the foundry…. see how clean this eagle is out front of Parks Bronze?  They must get out there and wipe the dust off regularly.  Good sign for the attention to detail they do otherwise as well.

Eagle outside of Parks Bronze is so clean!

Eagle outside of Parks Bronze is so clean!

I get so excited when I go to foundries and this time was no different except in one crucial way …. usually my initial excitement is replaced with stress due to all the corrections I have to make to the bronzes but here I am seen twirling around in a whirlwind of happiness.

Whirlwind of excitement getting to work with my new foundry.

Whirlwind of excitement getting to work with my new foundry.

Later, in my work in progress for Garden Reverie, I’ll share bronze process photos.  I love looking at sculptural works in the foundry and would have loved to share stunning patinas but was not allowed to take photos of other scuptor’s work.  The foundry said I would have to get permission from the artists.  Respect is given and that’s a plus!

Other high points to this foundry:

  • Bronzes required very little refining. When I arrived at the foundry, my two bronzes looked great!  I’m used to circling with a black marker pen all the areas the metal chaser needs to give attention to but there was little to do.  This was partly due to the fact that they sent nice wax photos and then metal photos for me to critique, so that when I got there, little was left to do.  Their work is careful and conscientious.

 

  • Plastic bags cover sculptures.  I’ve never seen a foundry that cover the finished sculptures with clear plastic bags so that dust does not accumulate and potentially mess up the patina.

 

  • Foundry workers sweep for 10 minutes at end of each workday! I was shocked to see the metal guys with masks on and going to town, so to speak, with their big brooms sweeping the floor of metal dust and debris. You mean foundries can actually be clean?!

 

  • Patineur Bart is fabulous!  He first requested that I send him photos of my patina idea for Garden Reverie so that he could start “thinking” about how he might approach doing the patina.  When I arrived, he didn’t want to leave my side, even though it was his lunch time, because he wanted to be there in case I had further questions or concerns.  I finally had to tell him it was okay to leave for his lunch and that I’d be okay with checking out the bronze and circling the things on it that needed some touchup.  He’s so nice!

 

    •  We talked about the patina and he had already prepared a few test plates for us to begin a sample patina on.  This is so much better then working on the actual sculpture and then regretting your choice of patina later.  Here’s a pic of Bart beginning one of the test tiles.
Bart at Parks Bronze making a test tile sample.

Bart at Parks Bronze making a test tile sample.

Patina artist Bart worked meticulously on my patina.  He has a good artistic eye for subtle variances, color tones to create a mood and how a sculpture reads.  He analyzed carefully and thoughtfully and consulted with me along the way.  Soon I’ll be taking photos and share the patinas he created.  I can not imagine them being any better, he did a wonderful job.

 

  • Bart made a final sample tile for reference.  I don’t have to worry about the next cast having a patina that will look a lot different because Bart made a final sample tile plate that has all the variances of tone for each patina.  I had a monochrome patina and a bronze with color patina and so he has two reference tiles to be kept on file for my Garden Reverie!  This is so much better then using photos or written notes alone to recreate the patina.

 

    • Bronzes were mounted and felt tabs applied to bottom. Bronzes were waxed and mounted on the granite base with felt applied to bottom and this was all ready for me to take home.  Bart was polishing Garden Reverie very carefully like he really cared about it.  He then offered to bubble wrap them and then put them in a plastic bag for our trip home.  We said it wasn’t necessary as we had blankets to wrap them in.  He delivered my sculpture to our car and made sure that it was lying on the correct side of the sculpture for the trip home.  He waited for us to get in and then waved goodbye to us with a smile!   Service clear to the very end as we left!  Can’t ask for more with a foundry.  I highly recommend them for doing high quality work.
Foundry always has so much to look at.

Foundry always has so much to look at.

The owner Steve Parks playfully sticks out his hand, to receive cash for our picture together.  Secretary Jackie plays along.  She is such a hardworking lady and carries many hats around that place, not just answering the phone.  In fact, we saw her with her telephone head set on and spruing wax on a sculpture (see her work apron on). In between calls, she works!  She’s very nice, honest and articulate- a good communicator- which is very important in a long distance foundry.

Owner Steve Parks (Jackie looks so innocent) is taking my whole life savings! lol

Owner Steve Parks (Jackie looks so innocent) is taking my whole life savings! lol

 

Finally, here are some pics of the semi-domesticated deer.  A herd of 12 deer were casually grazing in the back yard of some residence in Joseph, Oregon. They lie down in peace, unafraid.  We loved seeing them up close and it was like being at a wildlife park or imagining how Paradise would be with all the animals of the earth at peace with mankind, yay!

Herd of 12 deer gather like they live in Paradise at peace with people.

Herd of 12 deer gather like they live in Paradise at peace with people.

Deer peacefully lie down in back yard of Joseph, Oregon home.

Deer peacefully lie down in back yard of Joseph, Oregon home.

In a nutshell, the goal is to find a foundry that can work in my absence and have me trust them to do all the things I need them to do and maintain good quality casts.This can be done with a foundry 2 hours away or much further away, it really doesn’t matter. The initial introduction needs to happen so that they know what is needed and desired. By documenting this info, the foundry can then reproduce the next sculpture cast to look the same.

Parks has one more cast to make and I have confidence they will do a good job on it as well. My good friend Lynda Sappington :-) has been working with them for years and has great results. She’s the reason I tried out this fine foundry because of her recommendation. Thanks Lynda!

(See Garden Reverie’s finished clay pics and promotion and bronze photos)

6 Responses to “Parks Bronze Foundry”

  1. Bill Brooks says:

    Very professional… I’m already impressed… :)

  2. Tamara Bonet says:

    Yes, they left a great impression with me and I look forward to having my next cast produced to really show what they can do in my absence.

  3. Bill Brooks says:

    So what esthetic choices did you make for coloring? What issues did they have to deal with to get it cast? I’m finding the foundry process very interesting and challenging…

  4. Tamara Bonet says:

    Hand had to have a hole drilled and weld applied where it touches the knee. Otherwise it wanted to drift off of the knee as the arm was heated during welding and attaching the arm up above. Same with hand by her neck. The thumb had to be welded and attached and then resculpted in metal. Foot had to be welded from underneath and attached that way. Lots of other small details came up but that’s always how the first couple castings are and then it goes smoothly from there out.

  5. Tamara Bonet says:

    I looked at lots of patina choices on sculptures to get ideas of what is available and doable for bronze patina. Then went into Photoshop and tried lots of combinations of colors. Tried her with dark hair, then with blonde hair, even with red hair. Decided to go blonde with a translucent green/blue/rust tones dress and red/burgundy rose in hair. For the other patina, wanted it to be a white patina but in the soft tones of tan/salmon/grey.

  6. Bill Brooks says:

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out! :) I spent some time looking thru a patina book at some examples of what can be done with si bronze and different treatments… Brandon Roy says he wants to arrange a workshop and get a local rep artist from escondido to instruct on the subject and set us up with some practice pieces to work on… ;) what an adventure…

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