Apr. 17, 2008 at 11:01am
Tacoma Foundry Practices 4,000-year-old Artistic Tradition
Inside an unassuming building in downtown Tacoma, scupltors and artisans are transforming a 4,000-year-old artistic tradition.
The magic that happens inside The Bronze Works foundry and art gallery at 2506 Fawcett Ave. in Tacoma's old Brewery District is appreciated througout the state and beyond. Like John Jewell's Lewis & Clark commemorative statues at Fort Lewis, or the giant moose sculpture that greets visitors at Northwest Trek, or the sculptures that make so many local city hall buildings more interesting and city entrances more inviting.
The roots of the Tacoma operation began in 1995 in Shelton by envisioned art patron and retired United Shellfish Company CEO Norma Taylor. It was origionally established as part of an arts colony sculpture park. In 2001, the foundry assets and operation were sold to a group of bronze workers, led by foundry general manager Kevin Keating, and relocated to the current 10,000-square-foot facility. About 20 artisans work at the foundry. There are only two like it in the state. The other is in Walla Walla, Keating said.
"They appreciate the connection between the artists and the foundry," said sculptor Jewell. Early next year, the foundry will cast Jewell's monument of early American educator, Chloe Clark. It will be placed in DuPont's Northwest Landing. "It is always difficult to achieve real quality, as it takes such a tremendous amount of time, work and concentration," he said.
Read the rest of Cast in Time in the 2008 spring issue of South Sound magazine. On newsstands now.
LARGE AND IN CHARGE
To date, the largest piece produced is a sculpture destined for placement in Eatonville this summer. The Logging Legacy Monument consists of a pair of oxen rigged as a team, a drover and a 20-foot-long bronze log. The sculptor's design was created by Enumclaw artist Dan Snider and was enlarged to monumental proportions by The Bronze Works artisan staff, led by Tim Adams. In progress for almost two years, the entire sculpture required about 3,000 tons of bronze. The weight of the finished monument will be nearly 15,000 pounds. Details: logginglegacy.com
WHEN YOU GO
The Bronze Works art can be viewed between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by appointment. The showroom is also open during the third Thursday of every month, during downtown Tacoma's art walk. Details: 253.396.0396 or thebornzeworks.net
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