The process of creating a bespoke bronze dog sculpture.

Creating a sculpture of an animal involves a variety of processes, the first of which is taking photos to use as  a visual reference.

I always prefer to photograph the subject myself if I can, as it provides a chance to meet the animal – to discover his/her personality and character and to take a variety of images from which to work from. In this case, this beautiful family pet belonging to a client was my commission, and what a handsome chap he is!

Below are a few images I chose to work from, although I took well over 100 to enable me to capture the right angle and pose.

Once I am happy that I have the right photos to work from, it's then that the work begins.

Beginning with a large lump of clay is always an exciting part to my work, creating form and shape from a piece of clay is such a wonderful process. This stage can take between 35 and 40 hours. Clay is a fantastic media to work with, it can be used to cast in bronze and at the early stages, it is pliable and beautiful details can be achieved when working with it.

At this stage I provide regular photo updates to the client, as it’s much easier to make alterations at the modelling stage!

Communication is vital during any commission, it is something I prioritise in all the work I do. If there are changes to be made they can be done at this stage. Once the sculpture goes to the foundry and they make a wax cast, it becomes harder to make changes to the sculpture.

When the client and I are happy with the finished clay model, it is fired and then progresses to the next stage. This is known as the ‘lost wax’ casting process to bronze. In the photos below the sculpture has been cast in red wax before being cast into the final bronze finish.


Once cast into bronze, it is painted to finish. This is another aspect which can be specified by the client. Here a rich deep brown has been chosen which I think creates a wonderful finish.  

Sculptures like this can be situated in the home or garden. During my years as a sculptor I have had the pleasure of creating many different styles and sizes of sculpture for interiors and exteriors. Do take a look at my works page, to see the range of sculptures I have created.

If you have a commission in mind, do contact me here.






Susie Hartley