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.
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.
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!).
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…..