Sunday, 16 September 2012

Wildlife sculpture..






I have to admit to being a bit addicted to animal and wildlife sculpture. There are some wonderful sculptures in our cities...life size giraffes, flying flocks of birds... 



London

Plymouth



Leeds




Living in Somerset, I've often seen Jan Sweeney's fantastic wildlife sculptures during Somerset Arts Week. Inspired by African and Somerset wildlife, she creates some beautiful pieces through a process known as the Lost Wax Casting technique. Jan's sculptures really capture the animal in motion. To see some of her work follow the link below.



http://www.jsweeney.co.uk/index.html

One of Jan's sculptures from her African collection 


Seeing that Jan ran sculpture courses, I couldn't miss the opportunity of going along and have a go! We didn't try the lost wax technique but were given the opportunity to create something from a clay known as paper clay. This clay wasn't as tacky as the clay I'd used before at school, and held it's shape well.

Rather than mould something from a lump of clay, Jan showed us her technique of hollow sculpture;


I have never been good at rolling pastry!
After pummelling and kneading the clay, we rolled it out...and then folded the rolled clay into a loose shape of the animal we chose to sculpt. Jan helped us all a little here. She has an amazing internal 3D image of almost any animal. 

We then shaped and moulded and added more clay to our pieces. It was so absorbing that three hours flew by without me noticing. But the really amazing thing about sculpture is that you begin to learn to see...you think about shape and form and texture. Maybe because it uses an entirely different part of the brain, it also allowed me to think about the plot line of the story and 'drift off' into another world. 

I thought perhaps we should bring sculpture into creative writing lessons as a way of letting ideas evolve without that awful blank-page feeling of .."I have absolutely no idea what to write". 


Here is my sculpture shape. The clay prop helps the head from dropping until the clay has dried. 


The finished sculpture awaiting drying and firing...and a name! 



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