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Charlie Mallon

Mallon Foundry in Co. Tyrone is the family home and workshop of talented sculptor, Charlie Mallon.

Charlie Mallon uses a primitive way of working, known as ‘Cire Perdue’ or ‘Lost wax’. This technique was used successfully by the Celts across Europe, who we know through found artefacts were extremely skilful metalworkers.

Charlie follows the whole Cire Perdue process from start to finish, although it is unusual for this to be done today, in order to closely replicate the technique used by the ancient Celts.

The process starts with a model in clay from which a mould is made for a wax version of the piece. Each wax comes out slightly differently and takes some time to refine and finish, with sprues and risers added to help the bronze to flow properly around the final piece. Two or three wax versions are usually made but they don’t all reach the final bronze stage. The wax is then covered in a mix of primer and molochite which forms a ceramic shell, and layered up over weeks, or even longer in humid weather. Once the wax is fully covered in approximately 1.5cm of shell, it is heated to a very high temperature to remove all the wax. The hollow shell is buried in sand and the molten bronze is poured in. Once cooled, it is smashed open and the sculpture is revealed. Each sculpture is treated to develop a patination and then coated in beeswax to seal the finish.

The Celtic myths that inspired the bronze animal figurines of the raven, the boar and the salmon were written down in early books. The tales themselves will however be far older due to the strong tradition of oral storytelling which precedes the habit of recording in writing and instead relied solely on memory and verbal communication.

Similar themes to those in these myths occur across mythologies from different Celtic nations and indeed other mythologies. For example, the story of the Salmon of Knowledge, in which Fionn McCool gains his wisdom and knowledge from a salmon, has echoes in a Welsh tale.

Author's Choice

The series of limited edition bronze animal sculptures are so characterful that they almost become one of the family. As well as being incredibly eye-catching conversation pieces, they have amazing tactile qualities. The sculptures are satisfyingly weighty and feel cool to the touch.

We love that each of these bronze pieces have an ancient tale behind them. These sculptures resonate an ancient British tradition of storytelling, long before the time of recorded, written stories.

It is not only the ancient Celts’ stories that live on through the maker's work but also their metalworking techniques, in adhering as faithfully as possible to the primitive 'Cire Perdue' technique. This revival and continuation of traditional skills is so important to AUTHOR and part of what we stand for.

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