Matthew Sudlow

American
By Appointment Only
North Wales, PA
United States
801.867.8004

Matthew's fascination with the art of bonsai began when he was a child, after stumbling into a bonsai tree exhibit at the annual Philadelphia flower show in 1986. In his late twenties, he decided on a whim to move west from his home state of Pennsylvania to Utah and by coincidence, crossed paths with Ben Scolari, a Utahan who had practiced bonsai for over seventy years. Matthew was fortunate to be one of the last students instructed by this artist.

 

Not long after, he discovered that he was more interested in the idea of sculpting a bonsai tree than growing and training one. However, he found that sculpting a one-off tree was not very satisfying and instead, became enthralled by the process of creating bronze sculpture and fascinated with the challenge of designing a mold for an object as complex as a tree. He knew that with a sufficient mold design, he could produce limited editions and he has always felt that a numbered series certifies control and consistency over the work.

 

The lost-wax process requires that Matthew cast the entire tree sculpture in wax, before a second mold can be made and the sculpture is casted again in bronze. It is uncanny that frail wax can be used to complete this transition, considering the delicate features involved. The bronze casting is actually the easier part. All it requires is that he correctly control the temperature of the mold and the molten bronze, the velocity of the bronze relative to the thinnest features, mitigate gas entrapment by properly ventilating every termination point, dodge a half-dozen debilitating casting defects, and apply the correct amount of force to enable the bronze to reach every feature in roughly three seconds before freezing. It has taken Matthew roughly ten years of experimentation to learn how to create bronze bonsai trees. He knows they're worth it, and hopes they captivate you as they have him.   

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