It has been nearly 10 years since I cast any of my own work. Back then I was getting my MFA at the U of Utah, and actually cast my own work using the traditional (non ceramic-shell) casting method of massive invesments loaded into a kiln and burned out for nearly a week, then hoisted by crane into a sandpit, firing up the foundry and melting bronze and pouring it down the hole. I created 22 figures in one semester for about the cost of sending one figure through an idustrial arts foundry.
Now I leave the casting bit for an industrial art foundry, as I don’t have any other means- it is rediculously expensive at more than a 10:1 ratio of expense just for rough-casting to casting it myself. Though I do all the other aspects; molding the original, wax chasing (I had the foundry pour the waxes this time), welding & chasing the cast bronze, and patina, then basing. If the foundry was doing all of that as well the cost would rise exponentially and prohibitively.
Pictured is my little wax chasing setup and Peter sans his arms, then his arms fresh from the mold followed by his arms after wax chase (now I just have to affix the arms to the body). Then there is a table with five figures (2 Elizabeths and 3 small men holding poles), plus there is one more wax of Peter on its way. Of these I will cast one Peter and one Elizabeth, possibly one Man w Pole. The redundant figures are for vivisection, addition of planar elements, and other experiments. I’ll have to get pretty excited about the results to pony up the cost of casting them, so if anything ever reaches that stage you’ll know I am invested in it.