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Bronze Sculpting

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum

Sound | 1960s

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  •  Sculptor Charles Umlauf 
  •  Applying clay to an armature 
  •  Building a plaster mould 
  •  Casting a hydrostone figure 
  •  Final changes to the full-size clay model 
  •  Constructing a plaster mould for the larger figure 
  •  Guilio Pogliani—one of the founders of the Founderia Artistica Battaglia in Milan, Italy—oversees the making of the mould 
  •  Applying coats of beeswax 
  •  Assembling sections of the master mould and filling with plaster to form the inner mould 
  •  Retouches to the wax figure 
  •  Attaching gates and vents and applying the outer mould 
  •  Melting the wax and pouring the bronze 
  •  The figure takes shape 
  •  The sculpture arrives at the Port of Houston for transport to the Texas Hill Country 
  •  Finished product 
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  • About the video
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  • Cactus Pryor Cactus Pryor
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Narrated by Austin broadcast personality Cactus Pryor, this 1960s educational film details the lost-wax method for bronze sculpting. To do so, the film follows the creation of a sculpture by Charles Umlauf. At his Austin studio, Umlauf designs, molds, and casts a figure out of clay and hydrostone. The piece is then shipped to the Fonderia Artistica Battalgia in Milan, Italy, where craftsmen construct a full-scale clay model. Following several stages of mould-building, the bronze sculpture is finally cast, assembled, and shipped back to Texas.
Sculptor Charles Umlauf was born on July 17, 1911, in South Haven Michigan. He studied under Albin Polasek at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1941, Umlauf accepted a teaching position at the University of Texas at Austin. He retired in 1981 as a professor emeritus. In 1985, Umlauf donated his home, studio, and 168 sculptures to the City of Austin. Six years later, the city built the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum on adjoining public land to display the artwork. 
Richard S. "Cactus" Pryor was a comedic television and broadcast personality from Austin, Texas. Cactus, an Austin native, was born in 1923, straight into the entertainment business. His father owned the Cactus Theater on Congress Avenue (hence the nickname), and starting at just 3 years old, Cactus made stage appearances before the shows began. Cactus attended the University of Texas and served in the US Army Air Corp. When he returned to Austin from his service in 1944, Cactus joined the broadcasting team at Lady Bird Johnson's KLBJ radio station, where he worked until 2008. He joined the world of broadcast television at KTBC in 1951 where he was program manager and hosted a variety of television programs, including a football program with Darrell K Royal and many celebrity interviews. Cactus appeared in two films with his friend John Wayne, Hellfighters and The Green Berets. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, he became a sought-after speaker and event host, famous for his roasts of entertainers and politicians, most of whom he counted as close friends. Cactus was also known for his disguises. He would appear at functions in character, often pulling a fast one on the crowd as he charmed them first in disguise, then again as he revealed himself and used his earlier conversations to entertain the crowd. As an active member of the Headliners Club of Austin, Pryor starred in many humorous television news satires alongside Texas politicians, some of which can be seen in his film collection, as well as the Gordon Wilkison Collection and the Wallace and Euna Pryor Collection. He was nationally-known, but kept Austin his home, helping put the city on the map in the 60s and 70s. Cactus Pryor announced to his KLBJ listeners in 2007 that he had Alzheimer's disease, and Austin's "original funnyman" died in 2011.