Fantastical Mixed Media Sculpture

My brain is buzzing with potential narratives after spending a fantastical weekend at West Dean College on a mixed media sculpture course with Samantha Bryan, she of fairy and fairy dust spreading contraptions fame. As you know I am getting more and more interested in 3’d’ work and being a big fan of Samantha’s art (and her imagination) I hoped that this course would provide me with a few additional methods of combining soft sculpture with other harder media. It certainly did and while a few of my colleagues followed the literal fairy route, most of us came up with some pretty diverse sculptures (and related narratives) ranging from a dog, to an elderly trapeze artist, to a Tomte (yep I didn’t know what that was either but am planning to do a Christmassy post on this soon so watch this space).

We started off with an evening making heads out of air dry clay, a media that I haven’t really used before. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds, particularly getting a smooth finish with a clay that is rapidly drying in your hands, but it did give us a great opportunity to play with beads and other found objects we had lying around, as well as creating simple expressions. So by the second day I had a library of heads to work with Worzel Gummidge style and could start sketching possible bodies to match.

"clay head sculptures"

Fantastical clay heads

Next came a simple wire “stick man” and the process of creating a stuffed body and suitable feet and hands. Pierre (an alien amphibian) evolved from the bean head, a happy accident as originally the beans were applied to the clay as ears but came out more like eyes! Webbed feet and hands ensued.

"mixed media sculpture"

“Pierre” mixed media sculpture

The other sculpture I nearly completed was also an alien (I do seem to have a Sci Fi obsession at the moment but then you know my thoughts regarding the origins of fairy stories so I guess it was inevitable on this course). This chap took a bit of effort building up his muscular legs using wrapped strips of newspaper but I kinda like him. Excuse the base. I forgot to take something suitable with me and had to use one of my bead containers. On the plus side I now have two holes in the top of a bead container, which renders it pretty useless for its purpose so I now have an excuse to consume another box of Hotel Chocolat champagne truffles. He needs a bit of finishing and a suitable stand so don’t look too carefully. He also needs a name as I haven’t come up with anything suitable just yet (suggestions welcomed!).

"mixed media sculpture"

Beaded Alien Man who needs a name sculpture

This is such a fun process I am already thinking about what to do next (and yes you guessed it, probably incorporating knitted fabric!). So, I am off now for a Sunday evening laze in the bath to dream up more alien characters. Until next time…..


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