The republication of Dennis Kowal’s 1972 book on sculpture casting includes an interesting means of updating a technical book: on the title page, Kowal has printed a QR Code and a url referring to the software necessary for the code to work. A reader can then use his or her smart phone to scan the QR Code and go directly to updated information on casting.
Casting, though, is one of the oldest technologies for the creation of permanent artworks. The digital revolution of recent years provides new ways to make molds and to re-size works, but the basics of casting remain little changed.
Kowal offers information on the history of sculpture casting, various mold-making and casting techniques, materials, and finishes, and also includes a chapter on a student-built foundry. There are numerous black and white photos of cast sculpture and of the techniques discussed, as well as technical drawings by Lebbeus Woods.
The book is, as the title suggests, intended for the working artist. And though much is unchanged since 1972 (a chart of the melting points and pouring temperatures of various metals is surely as accurate nearly 40 years later), though the “sources for supplies” list seems not to have been updated (Kowal recommends checking the phone book, but nowadays probably best to start from scratch with a web search or asking around among sculptors for current suppliers). What the book does offer is a clear introduction, with a lot of detail, to the entire process of casting sculpture, in all its diverse forms.
Sculpture Casting, Studio Edition: Mold Techniques and Materials:
Metals, Plastics, Concrete
by Dennis Kowal
Paperback 276 pages, $22.50