As Corten becomes increasingly popular for use in outdoor sculptures, conservators are playing catch-up with their preservation techniques.
The way in which Corten is used throughout a sculpture is conditional on its production form, i.e. plate rod, flats or structural sections.
Ordinary steel surfaces can be treated after the work has been completed and sculptors have used everything from powder coating through to paint and acid etching.
Corten on the other hand is normally used out of the mill because of the rough, purple/brown surface that is eventually revealed when its rusting stabilises. That means that most Corten sculpture is found outdoors. It also means that, in fabricating the sculptures, we must take a great deal of care when we are welding and grinding, and when mixing with other materials. When we don’t, the conservators eventually get interested, although British sculptors are amused by the idea of needing to conserve an essentially found material.
Click here for more information on the history of Corten Steel.