Stewart and Steven Wegner in their Fredericksburg, VA gallery.
In May I had the opportunity to photograph the Wegner brothers for the June issue of Rappahannock Magazine. They have a gallery and foundry on Wofle Street in Fredericksburg. Like most of that part of Wolfe street the building was once part of an ice cream factory. Stewart and Steven are twins who have been creating bronze works of art together for many years. If you have never been to a foundry before it’s interesting to see everything that goes into make a bronze sculpture. They use the “lost wax” method to create their sculptures. I won’t go into all of the steps necessary to make a bronze casting this way but there are many. Some are more tedious than others but they are all necessary to create the pieces that they do. While I was there they were working on several different projects.
I helped to pour the bronze for a plaque at the College of Charleston commemorating the 200th anniversary of the college while I was a student there. Pouring bronze is a hot and heavy task. Steven told me that the molten bronze is about the same temperature and the center of a nuclear explosion, around 2400º fahrenheit. Not something you want to spill down the front of you! In fact, it would probably go right through you. Molten bronze pours like water, glows bright orange and is very heavy. It took four of us to pour the bronze for the rather large plaque. Steven and Stewart can pour several pieces at a time depending on the size of the pieces. It is quite a process to watch and to photograph.