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How to take care of your sculptures so they last a lifetime

Posted on May - 24 - 2017

Jo DeDecker blasts a bronze sculpture with heat at the Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland on July 28, 2016. The bronze sculptures must be heated to soften the existing wax and allow for application of a new wax layer that will keep the artwork clean.  Photo by Michael Ortiz/Loveland Reporter-Herald

Jo DeDecker blasts a bronze sculpture with heat at the Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland on July 28, 2016. The bronze sculptures must be heated to soften the existing wax and allow for application of a new wax layer that will keep the artwork clean. Photo by Michael Ortiz/Loveland Reporter-Herald

Photo Courtesy: Reporter Herald

While thinking about collecting art, the first thing that comes to mind are paintings, but what about sculptures? Art comes in various forms, shapes and materials and sculptures can vary from the inorganic to more perishing media. The more traditional sculptures were usually made either by a kind of metal or wood carving, for those, there are various accepted methods and techniques for preserving them. Take care of your art, and it will last a lifetime if not more.

Here are some of the most used metals:

Bronze

There is just something about bronze sculpture that makes it reminisce of the old and forgotten time. Or, in some cases, it’s interesting to see how artists manipulate this old technique to get new and exciting works. Since bronze, like most metals, chemically reacts to the environment they are put in; it serves useful to place them in a controlled place. As with any other material, the dangerous enemy of artwork is moisture, in the case of bronze, it corrodes it. To take care of your bronze pieces try to clean them with a wet cloth, dry them with a clean cloth and then apply either floor or furniture wax. Try to do this annually or more constantly, so your bronze pieces retain their shiny quality and don’t begin to how signs of corrosion.  Never use home detergents, car wax nor solvents, those would create irreversible damages to your sculpture.

Stone

Although stone can vary from the multiple choices found, like marble, granite, limestone and other, it proves to be the more resilient and resistant to any environmental decay. This medium is the easiest to take care of because it needs no attention in the first place. Just leave your rock sculpture be, and if it were necessary, remove dust carefully, but don’t apply any other detergents or try not to move it regularly since it could suffer from mechanical damage, like cracking or even breaking.

Resin

The second runner up, if not the first in the race for durability and resilience is resin. This material is light to relocate and move around. It can withstand being outdoors where the closest threat would be that they lost the brightness of their coloring. For this, you should just apply a coat of protectant. In this case, before using any protectorate, you can use a detergent mixed with water and clean the whole surface of the sculpture. Choose a clear, spray-on polyurethane product that states that it provides UV protection; this would protect overall coloring in a more efficient way. Apply two coats and let them dry. The occasionally keep it nice and clean with a dry cloth.

Like all good things, art has to be taken care of so it will grace your life with the original beauty you fell in love with.

By: Gabriela Martínez de la Hoz