An older statue may undergo a number of makeovers during its existence; some better than others. Eventually, it becomes something the artist never intended.
This statue belongs to a school, and some of its pupils may be future artists who will be inspired by the art they see. Here is an example of a four year old's interpretation of Veronica wiping the face of Jesus. Look at the concern the child has captured
in Veronica's eyes, as she reaches out to a tearful Jesus.
Long faced saints
This statue of St.Chad had been repaired several times, with adverse affects to its appearance.
The shape of the chin was overly large, and the upper lip sagged.
The resulting caricature was not the sort of long face one wants to see on a Monday school morning...its possible that it had been adapted from a popular bearded saint, to a clean shaven one.
Musing on the reason for his dour expression, it was noted that the mitre was rather pinched. It appeared to have shrunk in the wash, perhaps causing the saint a headache. I pondered how the mitre could look if corrected...
The other problems included a broken crozier, and twisted arm.
The arm had been formed from a grey putty. As plaster and putty are not compatible, they would never "marry up" and the break at the elbow would be permanent if it were not removed.
I used a hack saw to remove the miscreant limb, and modeled a replacement in clay. From this I produced a plaster cast, and attached the new limb with a new internal support iron.
Completing the makeover
Once all of the "messy" repair works were complete, I was able to prep the statue in readiness for its re-decoration. The photo below shows how truncated the arm had become due to old repairs.
The mitre was remodelled to fit, and lower jaw reduced.
Early medieval Bishop vestments
Early medieval bishops would have worn a dalmatic, although these are often painted as cottas. The difference between the two, is that one will have an obvious fringing, and the latter a lace hem.
This small statue of St.Chad had the fringe with open sides, meaning he was wearing the dalmatic.
With the arm now at the correct length, I could add the dalmatic sleeve to his blessing arm, which completed the makeover.
Earlier this year I completed a commission from Fr. Harding to make a 44 inch statue of St.Catherine for his parish.
Revd. H sent me some images of his ideal "Catherine" and how the finished statue might look.
To create the figure I used water based clay which I find more responsive to the touch than the less traditional plastilene (plasticene -type) modelling materials.
The following images show some of the stages in producing the figure
Designing the figure.
Sketches are an important part of helping the client see how the sculpture may look when finished.
The initial sketch on the left, was later adapted to appear more like the flat back figure which had first caught Fr. Hall's eye. The addition of a dove alludes to her time of incarceration, where legend states she was fed by one whilst she was imprisoned.
Building the figure Support
To support the weight of clay used to build the figure, David constructed a rotating platform and scaffolding jig. This would hold the armature which has to be shaped to fit the pose of the figure. It has to be strong enough to support the clay, in this case around 50 + kilos.
Modelling St. Catherine's face
Its helpful to have a live model from which to make notes when planning to sculpt a figure. Yet an artist will not always copy this slavishly, consideration is given to creating a more pleasing shape than would appear in reality. In the same way a portrait artist, may strive to bring out his subjects "best" features.
The head is sculpted separately, and added to the torso.
Moulding and casting
Once the clay model was completed, we made a mould for the figure.
and separate moulds for the hands, crown and dove. These were cast seperately and attached later to the plaster cast.
Once the plaster was fully dry, polychroming could begin.
Consideration was given to the colours of the clothing, the detail of the cloak clasp, and the dove. Fr. H asked that the dove be coloured like that of an African species which would have populated the Jordan in biblical times. The complexion, eye and hair colour were matched to that of his beloved granddaughter. Finally, the statue was complete and ready to display for the feast of St.Catherine on 25th of November.
This 40 inch plaster nativity set needed some TLC. It had become rather grubby and damaged with years of handling.
The shepherd figure below has been cleaned prior to repairs. The old repair, shows the missing end of the pipe has not been re-attached but painted over.
As the broken end of the chanter is missing, here are three stages of my re-building them..
(fig 1.) the proposed correction far left,
(fig 2.) Supports fitted to rebuild the mouth of chanters and fingers,
(fig 3.) Shaping the fingers to match the originals.
Below; My dog makes a good model for broken ears!
The fingers and fluted chanters after re-building and before colour is applied.
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