Sunday, 5 July 2015


Hours and hours of cycling...

The Manx Missile gives up and coasts in fourth at the sprint over the finish line on the Tour de France Day 2 Utrecht stage.  Sagan to win tomorrow on the last 1km up to Huy.  Bring on the cobbles!

Hours and hours of tennis...

 Uber-relaxed Germaican Dustin Brown playing at Wimbledon and knocking out Nadal with 89 post-serve volleys, drop shots to die for, and second serves of over 125mph. Not long ago, he was travelling around Europe to tournaments in a campervan. Photograph: London Evening Standard


Friday, 3 July 2015

Final Day

Yes, it's already Friday, and all our sculptures have to be finished today.

I am still adding areas of plaster to make the form less figurative and more abstract, and painting the inside with acrylic to give a pinky glow like the edge of an abalone shell.

When the plaster is dry, I'll paint it with shellac to strengthen it, then varnish.  The piece will have a creamy colour with the texture markings brought out, so it will look like a piece of bone with a glowing, warm centre.

Here's how everyone else did...

My sculpture on the left, Ewan's world with minitaure sculptures of marble and aluminium inside, and Victoria's sculpture of Marco in clay.

Mary chipping the last of the plaster jacket off the jesmonite cast.

Mies's pieces.  She was making a linear wall-mounted three dimensional assemblage out of various textiles, woods, aluminium, copper, glass, perspex, mirror and paper.  It was all done to a very careful drawing and measured accurately.

Another view of Marco, Ewanworld and my sculpture.

Mies demonstrates how her design fits together.

The biggest puzzle of the day was how to get my sculpture back to the per usual, it took five people to lift it!

So to recap, here's the starting point at the beginning of the week (which I hasten to add, I didn't refer to again) - the back of a statue by Michelangelo...

..and here's my sculpture...

 Well, that explains a lot!


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Sculpture Day 4

Having looked at the photographs I took of my sculpture, and listened to various comments about the work, I decided that enough was enough.  Barbara Hepworth wouldn't be caught doing a sculpture that could be mistaken for fighting hares, fat people dancing or headless chickens.

So it was time to get welding, scrimming and plastering, chisel off those rabbit ears, and not make the legs and other areas such an issue.  This is a sculpture about the surface texture, not the hares/chickens etc.

Meanwhile, others in the class were making far better progress...

Marco slept by the door.  Mary's waste mould sat on the step, ready for the jesmonite pouring process, which drew a small audience.

Time to start putting the copper sheeting down the centre of the piece.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Sculpture Day 3

It's funny that I made so much progress in a very short time on Monday, then today my sculpture seems to have not changed very much at all, despite having spent another whole day working on it.

I'm trying not to anthropomorphise it, but it does rather look like two funny little figures clinging on to each other in a strange dance....

It's not what I started out to do at all.  Here's a close-up of the surface.

Even if I'm getting nowhere, it's strangely satisfying to spend a day working like this, with my hands in a bucket of plaster, and chipping away at the form with a big scraper.


From this angle, they look more like fighting hares, and that's not good.  Tomorrow, the rabbit ears will have to go...this is a serious sculpture.  Behave yourselves.

It's been a hot day, and the big door of the workshop is open into the back lane.  There is a smell of unemptied bins, the sound of buzzsaws from the wood workshop across the way, the trains rattling on the track over the back wall.  Soulless drum and bass music plays across the back court, but is sometimes surprisingly interpersed by a distant song with a woman singing plaintively in an Eastern language, exotic and impassioned.

Everything is a bit grimy and dusty - even the clean bits.  There are children from the surrounding tenements who come to sit on the step of the workshop, and who chatter away in Romanian and pet Victoria's dog Marco.  Patient, good-natured Marco is the handsome model for Victoria's sculpture, which she's made with a metal armature and clay worked over the top.

Because the door is wide open, people come and go, drop in, borrow tools, make cups of tea, and chat about what's going on in the neighborhood.

Here's Marco the sandwich-snaffling, banana-loving model, and Marco the sculpture.  

Mary is sitting on the step with her sculpture, which is for a statue for her garden.  The figure is going to have ivy sprouting from the hands.  Made in clay, the figure has been encased in a plaster jacket to take a mould.  When hard, the plaster will have the clay removed from the centre, and the space filled with a durable material such as concrete or jesmonite, suitable for going outdoors. 

And so another day goes by.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

What This Hand Has Done Today...

So what's this chubby hand been sculpting today?

Opinions range from seed pods...

to animal bones... two figures...

...depending on which angel you look at it from.

I'm a great believer in letting the object become itself, and not being too prescriptive. It will tell you what it wants to be.

It's just I'm not sure even it knows what it wants to be yet.

Meanwhile, in a corner of the workshop far, far away, the Death Star is being constructed.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Sculpture Workshop Day One

It's day one of my sculpture workshop, and I thought you'd like to see how far you can get in a day.

I started off with the idea of several pieces that I've seen that all had elements that interested me.

I liked the simplicity and surface texture of this very feminine piece, with its painted plaster surface

Barbara Hepworth, Single Form

I liked the exciting pitted surface marks of this huge Henry Moore piece, which looks like a whale bone, although I didn't like the clumsiness of the shape.

Henry Moore, Three Way Piece No.1: Points 1964-65 (plaster with surface colour, hessian on wood support)  Photo: Jennifer Hicks 

I liked the organic, coral-like sway of this marble, one of the final pieces by Michelangelo in Milan. It's quite abstract, especially as it has the remains of another sculpture still visible as part of it (an arm on the left hand side).  On the back, it has a variety of exciting mark-making.

I decided that for my week-long workshop, I wanted to do a plaster piece, with lots of surface markings, contrasted with smooth painted surfaces.  I wanted to do something fairly abstract, with an organic feel.  Other than that, I'd let the object become itself, and rely on found objects and odd lengths of welding rod in the studio, so I wasn't going to be too prescriptive.

I started by using a found piece of steel for the base plate, and welding together an armature of found and cut rods to make a roughly bicuspid shape, like a seed pod.

I placed the structure on a wheeled trolley, so I can easily move it around to work on, and cut long lengths of scrim which I draped on the armature.  I then prepared buckets of casting plaster, dipped the scrim in, applied it to the armature, and then applied handfuls of plaster to the form to create the volume.

I think you'll agree that so far, it looks absolutely nothing like anything!!