Stephen Page’s exhibition ‘Beast and Bird’ at McAllister Thomas Fine Art in Godalming
runs from 22nd September - 7th October. The exhibition includes new work made
especially for the exhibition.
The effortless beauty of Stephen Page’s sculptures doesn’t provide any clues to the
complexity of the making process. His studio, which sits in the lee of a bronze-age hill fort
is intriguing - sculptures in all stages of the making process rest on benches, shelves and
protrude from boxes and packing cases - evidence of the complex bronze-casting
process. Signs of every stage can be seen in the studio - artworks carved from dense-
foam sculpting material are lined up on shelves; these originals or ‘patterns’ are inspired
by ancient art and artefacts and evolve from Stephen’s sketches and drawings. The
patterns have been coated and then smoothed back to create simple and beautiful
animal forms that will be replicated in bronze. Rubber and fibreglass moulds containing
deep green wax sculptures can be seen here and there - these are exact copies of the
originals, ready to go for casting at the foundry, where they will be coated in a fine
ceramic material into which the molten bronze is poured.
Stacked in boxes, raw bronze animal limbs wait to have remnants of ceramic shell and
bronze ‘runners’ removed - these are left over from the bronze pouring process. The
limbs wait to be paired up with corresponding parts to recreate the original artworks, as
bronze-casting often involves making sculptures in sections and then reassembling them.
This involves a painstaking process of welding, grinding and polishing involving hours of
labour to recreate the birds and beasts in a final and perfect form. The separate work
areas, and the wide range of tools and equipment involved are testament to the fact
that creating beautiful bronze sculptures is a complex process where care and precision
Some of the sculptures on Stephen’s workbench are close to completion. Using a
selection of brushes, chemical mixtures and a blowtorch to heat the surface of the
bronze, Stephen applies colour in layers to form incredible patinas to the surface of his
sculptures. Some of the pieces emerge in bold vibrant colours - rich reds, turquoise and
deep blue, while others are more organic - mottled silver, marble and granite effects - all
carefully chosen to enhance the essence of the beast.
Finally, before packing the artworks for exhibitions across the UK, a coat of specialist wax
is applied and buffed back to protect the patinas and to lend the pieces a warm glow.
Many hours of creativity, care and expertise have been invested in these artworks in the
hope that they will be found by someone who loves distinctive and original sculpture.