As I mentioned in my last blog, there has been a figure in my
studio for a while, waiting patiently for finishing touches. The
order was placed at ACC Baltimore in February, with no specific
deadline for completion ...although I had been aiming for the
customer's birthday in late August. He generously told me not
to compromise my grandparenting duties in order to finish and
added: "Time might just be a sales promotional thing for watchmakers."
I do try to meet deadlines, but certainly appreciated the
freedom this time around, especially for this type of figure.
My notes on the order stated: commission for a "mystical"
standing figure about 26 " tall, with a staff ,ceramic heads, hands,
feet, lots of color. He had admired my figures for a long time,
and realized I was moving in new directors so if he wanted one,
he'd better act soon. He told me he liked lots of things, including
ships, but left the details to me.
It's been fun revisiting this type of work...and realizing how
connected I still feel to it. Circling back has been instructive.
I realize what I have learned in recent years re armature (the
figures are more sturdy now) and made me think again about
story being at the core of my art.
In my last blog, I promised some process photos. The
figures begin with sculpted fire and glaze clay parts, wire,
polyester, thread and muslin:
After creating the basic figure, I started looking around the
studio to see what textiles and leathers I had to create a
mystical look. The materials have a magical way of just
being there...waiting...The top of a heavily embroidered hat
seemed just right for vest embellishment:
An old quilted and embroidered piece was waiting to become
a mystical cape. It just needed some more beads, trim, story items
and a collar made from part of an old embroidered Japanese kimono.
The staff? Hmm...I wandered in our yard looking for an
appropriately twisted stick..found a dead branch on our curly
willow just the right size...and saw a bird skull that I had picked
up on the beach during a writing retreat sitting on the shelf at
my work table....It fit exactly on the top of the branch.
At little carving of the wood, a little stain and paint..and it was
ready for addition of some silver medallions, beads, leather and
Then, of course, no mystical figure should be without a
book of spells...
A leather mask seemed in order:
oops...can't forget that mention of ships. A little embroidery
on the back of the suede coat would be a nice surprise:
And so the mystical figure has emerged.. Folks will be able
to see the almost finished figure at Roxbury Open Studios
this weekend. (October 5-6) at my home studio. I'll work on
his name and legend this weekend.
him out to be displayed in the special "Hocus Pocus" exhibit
at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton next weekend.
I'll be in booth #805 at the festival with all my other work..
some inspired by this guy (including some miniature mystical
books.) I hope to get a good photo of him at the festival. I'll share
that in my next post.
On return, I'll pack the figure up...and he will journey to his new
home and greet my very patient customer.
Here's hoping some of you are able to stop by my studio this
weekend or my booth next weekend in Northampton!
Adventure on! Wendy