Sculpture through Bronze Casting

Saltation :: Bronze :: 33 x 33 x23cm

I’ve made occasional forays into the world of sculpture and casting in the past. Last year I decided to make a serious effort to develop skills and experience to expand my practice into 3 dimensions.

Making a sculptural piece of work begins, for me, with building a tactile relationship with a modelling material – eg tin foil, wire, clay or wax. Without a plan, I love squeezing it, bending it, pushing it around, extending and compressing it to see what forms manifest themselves instinctively. It seems to be the most primal form of making.

Experiments with tin foil, plaster, wire and other bits that were lying about

I was lucky enough to get on to the mouldmaking workshops held at Fire Station studios in Dublin. That was 2 weekends jammed with learning. Following that, I was accepted onto the NCAD continuing education programme Constructing Sculpture through Bronze Casting.

Throughout the 22 weeks, Vivian Hansbury, Ciaran Patterson and Brian from the Bronze Art foundry gave us a good solid grounding in mould making and casting bronze using the lost wax process.

saltation [ sal-tey-shuhn ]


  1. a dancing, hopping, or leaping movement.

2. an abrupt movement or transition.

3. Geology. intermittent, leaping movement of particles of sand or gravel, as from the force of wind or running water.

4. Biology.

  1. a sudden discontinuity in a line of descent.
  2. a mutation.

The bronze figure I cast is titled ‘Saltation’ – a dancing, 2-faced bird-human that references the ocean, myth, transformation ritual and carnival. It’s form began in the wax cast I took from shells pressed into clay. These became wings and from there a dancing figure referring back to the dancing, motion drawings of last year.

The figure, blowing a trumpet, spreading its wings and stepping out into space, evokes an exhilarating optimistic leap (trust?) into the future.


Saltation : work in progress

Many thanks to the Arts Council Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon for the Agility Award which made this project possible.