About Jim and the Process


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Jim Millar was born and raised in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. He was an art major in high school and college, then went on to graduate work in sculpture at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Jim worked as an Art Instructor for the Detroit and Petoskey, Michigan school systems from 1964 through 1969. While in graduate school, he worked as a Clay Modeler in the Styling Division at General Motors in Warren, Michigan. Since 1969, Jim has been a full time sculptor.

His skill in working with bronze is strictly self-taught. He has been working with this metal for over 30 years and has developed a specific style that is unique to him. He works the bronze much the same way that a silversmith works. His forming skills are highly developed and his work is very recognizable.

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Each piece starts as an idea on paper. The design is then transferred to a three dimensional state in order to develop the patterns that are needed to produce the desired effect. Once the patterns are perfected, they are traced onto a 3' x 8' sheet of commercial bronze. After the individual pieces are cut and sanded, they are hammered over various anvils or into hollowed tree stumps to create the desired form.

Every part of his creations start out flat; even the tubing is rolled by hand. The forming is all done free hand; there are no dies that are used, nor is there any mechanization. Once all the various parts are formed, the composition is then assembled and welded together. The piece then goes into an acid bath to clean off all of the fire scale and flux from the welding process. Each design is then checked for leaks before being "colored".

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The coloring process is done with heat from a torch, as well as, copper nitrate. The patina is applied to highlight certain areas of the design that need to be brought to life. The colors range from verdigris to various hues of browns and bronzes, as well as, some pastel tones, purples, reds and blues. A number of factors affect the outcome of the coloring process: how hot the torch is, the humidity, the strength of the copper nitrate solution, etc. In other words, it's always an adventure when the coloring process begins.

Once the piece is colored, it is washed and then waxed with a paste wax to fix the finish. The fountain is then buffed to add a shine. The pump is then installed, the fountain is filled with water and it is tested. The tiers are adjusted so that the pouring action is under control to avoid splash and overflow. Jim signs and dates each piece. Then it is packed and shipped to the awaiting customer.

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There are only 2 employees, besides Beth and Jim, working in the shop and the production schedule allows them to create approximately 100 pieces per year. Some designs demand as much as 45 hours, start to finish. Each piece is created one at a time. Nothing is mass produced and nothing is stocked. Everything is made to order. They supply 25 shops and galleries all over the country and have shipped to numerous countries around the world.

The studio is located on the Millar's property of 64 acres in the mountains of western North Carolina. The business employs local people who have been taught this craft over the last 19 years. They pride themselves on creating beautiful and functional works of art that are designed to bring years of pleasure. The Millars stand behind each piece and guarantee satisfaction along with the craftsmanship.


Jim & Beth Millar
375 Millar Road - Hot Springs, NC 28743                                                            Home    About    Gallery    Contact
Phone - 828-622-7367