After I returned to Jackson Hole this spring after over a month away, it was not long before I went up to my foundry near Bozeman to work on the several pieces that were in process there, including my Trail Creek Ranch piece. I was pleased to find that it had cast well: the foundry had determined that the branch was too thick for a direct casting to be successful, so they made a mold of it and a wax replication which would cast beautifully, although by doing so it also increased the cost of making the piece and thus the finished price. It was particularly good that it came out so well, because the smaller “backup” piece that I had taken to them at the same time ended up not casting well at all, with the result that I abandoned that piece.
As usual there was work to be done on the metal to get it the way I wanted, and the five birds—three larger plus two very small—all needed to be positioned and welded on, and after sandblasting to create a uniform clean metal surface, the patina could begin to be applied. The patina artist is working on it in the photo above. Also shown is the piece with the patina finished — all five of the birds with impressionistic but recognizably colored plumage, and the bronze branch now indistinguishable from the wooden one. The piece, alongside other new pieces of mine in a similar state, is not yet waxed and is still awaiting being mounted on its wooden base.