The Re-Birth of Art at the Shidoni Foundry and Gallery
I am easily distracted, which can lead to wandering…which can lead to discovering. Visiting the Shidoni Foundry was that kind of adventure for me. As my friends began walking the expansive lawns alive with statues, I allowed myself to be drawn to the blue-hot light of a blow torch in some back area of the foundry building. The side of the building was open like a large garage door which I walked through like I knew where I was going. I began talking with the gentleman who I had seen wielding the blow torch and he let me know that it was probably best for me to enter the building through the main front entrance…you know, the main door for the general public. He was very kind and little did I know then, that we would be seeing each other very soon.
Recently I visited Santa Fe, New Mexico for my first time and on the day my friends and I were road-tripping back to Denver, we stopped at the Shidoni Foundry located in Tesuque. This small town is just outside of Santa Fe and home to amazing artists and important resources for the art community, like the Shidoni Foundry. A foundry is a type of factory that specializes in metal castings that are shaped as molds of original art pieces and then filled with a melted liquid that is later cooled and removed to produce a statue. They can be done in a variety of different metals such as bronze, iron, brass, steel and others.
With an idea in my head, I went around to the front entrance of the building where an indoor gallery and front office is located. That is where I happened to meet the owner and president of the Shidoni Foundry, Scott Hicks. He is the second generation of his family to own and manage the foundry. His father, Tommy Hicks, started Shidoni Foundry in 1971 when he moved to Santa Fe from Texas.
Scott gave me a wonderful introduction to the foundry, teaching me about their 10-step process for Lost Wax Bronze Casting and even taking me into the back to get just a few specific pictures of the already-public statue that I had seen being worked on earlier in my explorations. I was reunited with the gentleman I had met earlier and he afforded me this time some close-up shots of his work on a beautiful bronze statue…he was conducting what they call the patina phase, the last of the 10-step process. As I watched the vibrant hot flame being applied to the bronze, it felt to me as though the art was experiencing re-birth!
Back in the front indoor gallery, Scott showed me the examples they have of the different metals they can cast statues in and one of the rooms where you can see through glass windows a part of the process being performed by the experts themselves. Getting to meet Scott and tour the foundry with him, really gave me a personable experience with this amazing artist community in this magical part of the world. Thank you Scott, for your time in showing me around the Foundry and for your part in the creativity of art in our world.
To really experience the art community and culture in the Santa Fe area, make sure to visit the Shidoni Foundry and enjoy some of the tours they give of their amazing facility. You’ll see magic happening before your eyes!
For more photo-viewing pleasure, please visit my online album: The Shidoni Foundry