Anatomy of a bronze door handle

We introduced the beginnings of our jay sculpture with a post back in August of 2014. After working on the piece we decided to offer it as a limited edition of 25 sculpture that can be hung on the wall or fitted for use as door pulls.  As with any bespoke item, the creative process involves many steps.

As we have shared many times, all sculptures and our custom door hardware pieces begin with a detailed sketch of Martin’s vision for the piece or, in this instance, many photographs of his inspiration i.e. the red tailed hawk we see flying above the skies of Los Angeles.

Red tailed Hawk Martin Pierce Hardware

Red tailed Hawk
Martin Pierce Hardware

martin pierce redtail hawk on utility pole

As mentioned, when Martin began the jay sculpture in wood it was always his intention to use this sculpture as a pattern to make bronze door handles.   Therefore, when designing the bird there were three very important considerations:

The first consideration was a) how would you, as a home or business owner,  be able to grip a section of the bird to pull open your door and b) how would you be able to mount the bird on your door?

These considerations affected the way Martin designed the wings.  The left wing has a flatter area which can be used to attach the bird to the door and the right wing is the area that would make it possible to grip and hold to open the door. The tail of the bird could also be used as a secondary spot to attach the bird to the door if necessary.

The second consideration was the casting process. In casting you have to think about ways that the molds can be made so that  first the wax,  and then  later the bronze, can flow easily. To do this you have to plan where you are going to create “gates” or funnels or paths for the wax and bronze to evenly flow.

The third consideration is weight.  In order to avoid having the “bird” weigh a ton, so to speak, the casting of the body must be hollow.

Once all these details were ironed out it was time to begin sculpting the mold.  Details to follow on that very interesting process as well as casting, pouring etc.  So stay tuned!

To view our entire collection of custom architectural hardware you can visit our site at




About martinpierceblog

Martin and Anne Pierce live in Los Angeles California with their beloved rescue dog, Iris. Martin's custom designs reflect his love of nature and include beautiful vine and fern drawer pulls, a realistic yet whimsical collection of bugs and other critters on door hardware and charming floral designs on everything from door levers to bathroom accessories. He also enjoys creating sculptural contemporary pieces that are easy to access for those with limited physical capabilities. All of Martin's designs are hand carved and cast in their Los Angeles studio where there is truly something for everyone. Please contact us with any questions or custom queries
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1 Response to Anatomy of a bronze door handle

  1. Pingback: Inspired by Natural Forms, Martin Pierce Crafts Decorative Hardware & Distinctive Furniture in Los Angeles — Curating Los Angeles

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