Nowadays, we can see there are a lot of statues in many places. Not all these statues are made of either Alabaster, Soapstone or Limestone. But these statues are made of fiberglass, a type of reinforced fiber plastic made of glass fiber. Hence we call them as Fiber Statues.
These fiber statues can be easily made even at home. Most of the fiber statues are seen in many countries of the world like China, India, USA or UK. In China, there are fiberglass Buddha statues for sale in and around the city.
In India, the Fiber Buddha Statue is sold in all places in the country. Manufacturers use this material due to its easy availability and the manufacturing process is also easy. Some of the popular fiber statues manufacturers in India are located in the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, etc.
What are Fiber Statues/Fiberglass Statues:
Fiberglass statue or simply Fiber statue is nothing but a statuesstatue made of fiberglass, a reinforced fiber plastic compound made from glass fiber. It is also known as Glass – Reinforced Plastic (GRP) or Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic (GFRP).
This compound is the key component used in the manufacturing of Fiber Statues, where the compound can be molded in statues to the desired shape of our choice.
Manufacturing of Fiberglass:
The manufacturing process of fiberglass is explained below:
The manufacturing process is called “Pultrusion” where the fiberglass is produced under high degrees of heat and rapid cooling.
At first, the furnace is filled with silica sand, limestone, kaolin clay, and other necessary elements.
Then, the furnace is heated at a very high temperature, such that the components inside the furnace start melting until it forms a liquid.
The liquid formed is then bundled up as fragments and provides the “roving” which is nothing but a long bundle of fiber.
Now the rovings are given some sort of a coating or a primer so as to protect the glass for further manipulation.
Statues along with the coating, the fiberglass is reinforced with CSM (Chopped Strand Mat) to help maintain its rigidity.
Usage of Fiberglass in making statues:
Fiberglass is used in the process of making Fiber Statues by the usage of modeling clay, petroleum jelly, Shellac, MEKP(Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide) as the catalyst, and a hammer and a chisel to sculpt the statue.
First, we use the modeling clay to create the sculpture. Petroleum Jelly is added as the coating for the statue.
Then, we add Shellac to the insides of the statue to keep it smooth. Now, the statue mold is ready.
Now, we add the fiberglass resin mixed with MEKP catalyst to the mold. The resin bonds with the mold and the statue becomes solid within a matter of hours.
Thus, the Fiber Statue is mold which makes it resistant to wear and tear action.
The best examples of fiber statues are the Fiber Buddha Statues found in China, life-size 3D modeled statues found in the UK, animal statues found in the USA.
Fiber Statues vs Normal Statues:
Nowadays, fiber statues manufacturer find it easy to make fiber statues due to its high tensile strength and resistance to wear and tear action. Whereas, normal statues made of limestone, alabaster are strong but not resistant to wear and tear action.
Thanks to the CSM coating given to the fiberglass resin, fiber statues have the upper hand when it comes to maintaining the smoothness forever. Whereas, traditional statues do not maintain smoothness forever.
But, when it comes to cost, fiber statues are quite costlier due to the manufacturing process, whereas traditional sculptures are less costly, compared to fiber statues.
Fiber Statues for Sale:
These statues can be bought by anyone, anywhere, in any part of the world. Some of the best manufacturers are found in the USA and in the UK.
In the UK, Sculpture Studios and The Jolly Roger Ltd., are two of the best manufacturers of fiber statues. In the USA, Fast Corporation located in Sparta, Wisconsin, is the top manufacturer.
Both USA and UK produce animal statues, life-size 3D models, human models, 3D object models, and all other sorts of statues that are totally made of fiberglass.
They manufacture these statues using the process of “Pultrusion” (as mentioned above in the topic “Manufacturing of Fiberglass”) and is then coated with CSM to maintain the formation and bonding between the compounds.
These statues are mainly used for displaying them either in mansions, manors, museums, homes, public places, parks, etc.
These statues are also used to portray someone and use that as a memorial to what they’ve done for the people. For example, if a fiber statue of Abraham Lincoln is made, then the people use it as a memorial to remember his services for the USA and its people.
Also, these statues are used to depict animals that may have gone extinct such as the T-Rex Dinosaur Skeleton found in the Museum of Natural History or the Egyptian Pharaoh models found in the Smithsonian, etc.