Bonjour tout le monde!
I’m Caroline, a senior at Earlham, and a double major in French and Art. This part of the program is what I was looking forward to most.
We are all off in different regions of the southwest French countryside. I am apprenticing with Michel Rozier, a metalsmith in Montaut who specializes in bronze casting, iron forging, and paintings made with oxides to act as patinas. I am staying with him and his wife, Christiane.
My town is in the Midi-Pyrenees. To call it a town seems to be exaggerating a bit. The main street has an old church and a hairdresser.
But regardless I have a beautiful view of the foret Landais.
On Sunday my host family paired up with Annie and Ana’s host family and we all took an excursion to San Sebastian, Spain. We had a wonderful day walking around, eating paella, wading in the water, and saving our belongings from the tide. We had accidentally set our things down on the beach too close to the water, and when we realized, they were a second away from being washed away.
San Sebastian was beautiful and a great respite from the sometimes isolating countryside.
For the rest of the week, I was in the atelier working.
Monday- I burned the wax out of my mold using a torch, and then we let it sit on the fire overnight
Tuesday- We melted the bronze in an oven in the ground, and poured it into the molds. Melting the bronze took about an hour to an hour and a half to get it into a liquid state for pouring.
Tuesday continuted to be an eventful day. In the afternoon we started cleaning the sculptures. We broke open the molds to reveal the bronze, and then we had to get all of the grit out of the nooks and crannies. There are also imperfections like air bubbles which mark the metal which have to be grinded down. While I was cleaning, a piece of bronze shot into my eye and got stuck. Christienne took me to the eye doctor who was able to remove it from my eyelid.
Wednesday- We finished cleaning the sculptures and then put patinas on them. I used iron nitrate and copper nitrate. The iron gives the bronze a brown coloring, and the copper gives it a green coloring. This is applied with heat.
Then I started on forging. I forged a stand for my sculpture out of iron.
I had to take the turtleneck off. Forging really warms you up.
We had company over on Wednesday and Regis, the family friend brought Scottish whisky. For an hour we talked about the differences between whiskies and why the two he had brought were so good. On this topic I didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation, but it was interesting to listen to nonetheless.
Thursday- I finished up forging my stand, and then I made a painting using patinas.
I then made tiramisu for a special occasion on Friday.
Friday- All of the group is getting together to have a meal and to show what everyone has made during the apprenticeships. I am bringing my painting, my sculpture, and of course, the tiramisu. I am excited to see everyone after a couple weeks on my own, and to see what they all have created!
– Caroline Rosoff