Studio West Bronze Foundry & Art Gallery
Have you ever looked at an historic bronze statue and wondered why they have lasted so long? You can find the answer when you visit the internationally renowned Studio West Bronze Foundry and Art Gallery in the heart of Cochrane.
This family run business offers tours to share the process of creating these amazing pieces of art. Taught to cast bronze by his father-in-law, a cowboy artist named Doug Stephens who studied under Norman Rockwell, Don Begg runs a 16,000-square-foot foundry. The tour begins in the gallery, where visitors encounter numerous bright and shiny bronze figures, big and small. Statues, frozen in time stare back at the admiring faces. One cannot help but be impressed with the quantity and the museum quality of the workmanship.
Using molds as visual aids, Karen Begg, daughter of artists Don Begg and Shirley Stephens-Begg, lead visitors through the steps of making a bronze using the lost-wax method. Making a bronze monument takes six months to a year to complete. The demonstration is educational and fascinating.
Next on the tour is a trip to the adjoining studio, where they demonstrate the first step in making a bronze which includes the research, carving and creating a Studio West Bronze Foundry and Art Gallery has statues throughout Canada and the world! Many are highly recognizable, including three monuments in Cochrane for the public to peruse. The “Legacy” statue, located at Centennial Plaza in Cochrane’s Historic Downtown, is dedicated to the pioneer women and contains the names of families who homesteaded in the Cochrane area. Studio West also has statues that grace Cochrane’s Cenotaph and another statue depicting children reading books in Cochrane’s Nan Boothby Memorial Library. Don casted the Bronze Statue of Wayne Gretzky back in 1989 and gave it a face lift in 2016 before finding its new home in Edmonton at Rogers Place.
Book a tour
The foundry is open six days a week. A tour can be booked by calling ahead to schedule your visit. They would love to talk to you and accommodate any sized group. A unique opportunity to see these amazing works by visiting the Foundry in person during your trip to Cochrane!
Karen Begg tells the group that “this is a passion business”, a passion that is transformed into their beautiful bronze creations.
Patrick Price – Guest journalist & photographer
Dave Chidley – featured image