It was just starting to rain when we walked into the Foundry. It had been an October summery week in NYC but that morning the rain and early morning traffic made us feel uncertain about getting there on time for the 9am bronze pouring.
Pascale smartly found her way from Manhattan to Astoria, pointing in the direction of two tall chimneys: That’s where we are going! We looked at our watches trying to slow down time.
After all, the bronze pouring had to be delayed until 10.30. Jeffrey welcomed us in. He owns and runs Modern Art Foundry with his sister Mary Jo. The business has been in the family for three generations. One could feel his connection to the real purpose of the Foundry: “to offer artists and communities the opportunity to complete their works of art under one roof”. Although they have expanded their services to include educational services, exhibits and conservation, Jeffrey really transmits the pleasure on being what they call “a fine art lost wax casting foundry working for artists”.
Pascale Agostinelli, a friend and sculptress, walked with us through what we felt to be a deep layered operation full of history, stories, equipment, color, light, shape and people working in a professional, relaxed and creative environment.
It felt really cold as we went into the second room. “This is the wax room”, said Jeffery seeing me shiver as he went on with stories explaining the complicated process of doing the molds so perfect to translate all the fine minute detail of the sculpture surface.
The wax specialist was working on a sculpture done by Pascale. We were amazed at the complicated method of wax tubes that would mold the way in channels for the liquid bronze as it is poured in.
As we walked deeper into the Foundry Jeffrey relaxed with our presence. We were left to explore all the corners and meet other professionals. Sara Rahbar, an Iranian sculptress, and Arash Yaghmaian a photographer were also at the Foundry that morning. We talked and freely photographed until the moment the bronze pouring arrived.
As we were to cross the central patio the rain poured so heavily it felt like a river was running through. Jeffrey took a picture and said: “Now my sister will believe this drain is not working”.
The melting bronze was almost ready. The workers dressed as preparing actors to walk into the stage. In a performed act all unfolded in beauty, material rawness, incandescent moment as the liquid bronze was poured into the whole of the mold hidden in a cube of smooth white clay.
All was done in a few minutes, like it was all done in one breath, but the image of the fluid bronze is recorded in my memory forever.
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Fotografias de Minnie Freudenthal e Manuel Rosário