A large number of different materials are used in the production of an art casting. We usually cast metals in the lost wax process. The metals used for art castings are for the most part copper alloys, above all bronze, brass, and nickel silver. In addition, for example, aluminium, iron, or more rarely, precious metals are cast. Many contemporary works are, however, also executed in synthetic or other non-metallic materials. The selection of the material for the casting depends on what the artist would like the work to express, the durability and resilience required, and, of course, the financial framework.

Wax and elastic synthetic materials are used in molding, plaster for the supporting forms, and sands processed in various ways for the core and casting molds. In addition, various aids and additives are also required: releasing agents, binders, preservatives, and dyes. For the post-processing of the molded pieces, there are various weld and solder connections, and acids and salts in various concentrations for patination.

A collection of materials and substances has developed from the materials samples of the Kunstgiesserei, and is now maintained by the Sitterwerk. It houses all materials that are important in the realm of art production and historical monument protection, and makes them available for study purposes. Material and theory are meant to supplement each other demonstratively in the collection.

The collections of materials of the Sitterwerk, the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur (Museum of Applied Arts and Design), Zurich University of the Arts (Z-HdK), and the department of “Engineering & Architecture” of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLu) have been being brought together in a joint online database since the spring of 2009.


You can find a summary of the following pages in the PDF: Materials and Substances.