In 1981 Ms. Bowden began five years of study at the Johnson Atelier Institute of Sculpture Technology, a foundry located in New Jersey. Ms. Bowden learned all aspects of bronze casting and cast many of her own sculptures during that time. She acquired skills in all stages of shell casting, wax pouring and chasing, rubber mold making, sand casting, degating, metal chasing and patina. At left is a photo of Ms. Bowden pouring molten bronze into a ceramic shell mold at the foundry around 1984. Below are a few of the sculptures she created and cast while at the Johnson Atelier.
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Ms. Bowden created this wall mural of Canada geese, cat tails and marsh flowers, directly in wax and she cast it partly in sand and partly in ceramic shell. It was a private commission in 1984 and is located in Manakin, Virginia.
Chinese Characters. Ms. Bowden was privately commissioned to create this bronze sculpture. She modeled the characters and the decorated rings directly in wax, in 13 separate pieces which were then welded together after they were cast in bronze. She cast them into bronze using the ceramic shell method. Commissioned by a concert pianist who grew up in China as the daughter of American Missionaries, the characters read, "Music is a form of life, and life is a form of music." Bronze, 8' x 8', 1985 The sculpture is in a private home in Virginia.
Mother and Child. This Sculpture was commissioned by a church in Goochland, Virginia. It was requested that the sculpture be in the style of an Italian Della Robbia. It is painted bronze, weighing 400lbs. It was cast at Tallix Foundry and it is 6'x4'. 1999.
Kneeling Girl. Ms. Bowden was commissioned to create this sculpture for an all girls school in Richmond, Virginia, St. Catherine's School For Girls. It is life sized, bronze. 4'x6'. 2001
Baby Mary. In 1864, during the darkest days of the American Civil War, a baby girl, Mary, was born at Tuckahoe Plantation, near Richmond, Virginia. She died when she was only 7 months old. Her parents donated land and money to build a church for the coal miners in the area in her memory. They named the little white church St. Mary's. Ms. Bowden was commissioned to create this sculpture in her memory. It was installed in a children's garden at the church and is a gathering place for the children of the congregation.
Ms. Bowden completed a three year apprenticeship in violin making from 1978 through 1980, in the Colonial Williamsburg Instrument Shop under Master Luthier George D. Wilson. Ms. Bowden made the violin below using only 18th century hand tools and techniques. There are 50 pieces of wood in a violin and it takes about 240 hours to make one. Ms. Bowden also made the varnish used on the violin, and applied the 23 coats. Spruce, Maple and Ebony, 1980.