Mary MacKillop statue to be tested by fire


Mary MacKillop Statue News Story
Artist Judith Rolevink prepares the clay sculpture of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop for the foundry process.
A larger-than-life statue of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, created by Adelaide sculptor Judith Rolevink, is about to be tested by fire as part of the bronze casting process.

Judith has spent the past three months modelling the clay image of Mary MacKillop, the second she has done of Australia’s first Saint.

With the clay sculpting process now complete, a team from Melbourne’s Fundére foundry will travel to Adelaide to take moulds for the next part of the process. The clay will be separated from the moulds, meaning that parts of the clay statue will be destroyed.

"While it’s sad to see this happen to the clay original, it’s an inevitable part of the process," Judith said.

“I never worry about the destruction of the clay stage, as I am confident in the mould making processes to secure all the details of the modelling."

After the foundry workers create moulds from the clay statue, wax impressions will be taken from the moulds and then the bronze casting begins at the Fundére foundry.

"The wax will then be melted out of the investments and molten bronze poured into the cavity left behind. It’s a technique that has been used for thousands of years," Judith said.

The next foundry stage is for the castings to be fettled, welded together and chased by hand as well as being cleaned. The statue will then be ready for the colouring (patination) of the bronze.

"As the artist, I’m involved with the wax, patination and installation stages. The rest of the process is in the hands of the experts at the foundry," Judith said.

The moulds will go to the Fundére foundry at the end of April, before the finished statue is installed beside the chapel at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney in September.


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