For me, one of the trickiest parts of the sculpture is the hands. If you look closely at your own hands you can see that there are many different shapes working together to make the whole of the hand, which vary significantly depending on the position of the hands. For example if you look at an arm this is a fairly simple cylinder shape, while your hand is made up of five, jointed fingers which are multiple cylinders at different angles. There are a lot of subtleties to get right and if you get one part wrong it can throw off the whole look of the hand.
To help get this part of the sculpture right, as well as spending a lot of time looking at my own hands, I have designed the armature so the hands are removable. This helps by allowing me to look at the hands from lots of different angles, and it is also easier to sculpt than if it was fixed on the main body where I could only access it from a couple of directions. The head of the sculpture is also set up in a similar way so that it ca...
I want to ensure that all elements of my sculpture accurately reflect the period that H.G. Wells lived in Woking. The photos that I collected of Wells provide me with ideas and detail on the clothes that he wore which I can reflect in the sculpture, but very few include his feet. So I needed to investigate footwear from the 1890s to choose what would look best on the sculpture.
It was difficult to find good information and decent pictures online or at the library so to get a good look at actual 1890s footwear I went to Angels Costume in London. You may have heard of Angels Costume as they recently won a BAFTA for outstanding British contribution to cinema, and at 175 years old they are the world's longest-established and largest professional costume house. At Angels Costume I was able to look at a whole shelf of boots from the 1890s so I could choose a pair I liked and take pictures to use as reference.
I've been busy bulking out and sculpting the detail of the shoes on the scul...
Now that the clay form has been created I can focus on the head and creating the likeness of HG Wells. Taking the measurements from my reference pictures, including an important profile outline, I can start to ensure the key facial features are in the right place. I need pictures from many different angles to collect important measurements such as the distance between the ears (tragus) and the nose, chin and opposite ear, also the distance between pupils and width of the nose. I'm using these to start sculpting the head which I will refine over the next few weeks.
There are a number of elements of the sculpture (and surprises for HG Wells fans) which need to be sculpted out of different materials. I've already been re-purposing a globe, glueing together pieces of wood, and turning a plaster leg to create some of the detail which will be added to the statue.
Once the armature is finished I am able to add the clay which will be the main material used to sculpt the form and detail of the figure. To start with I use the clay to create the form of the figure, it starts off very soft so is quick and easy to use to bulk out the main volume. As the clay gradually dries and firms it is easier to sculpt more of the finer detail.
The armature is the central metal framework (like a skeleton) used to support the clay which the sculpture will be made out of. With around 250kgs of clay being placed onto this, it needs to be strong!
To create the armature I clamp together multiple pieces of metal piping and wire that create the internal shape of the sculpture, supporting each limb of the figure. Its important that the proportions are right so it sits in the centre of the sculptural form, and also well within the clay exterior. The angles of the limbs need to be accurate as any mistakes can throw off the alignment of the figure, so I've needed to tweak the shoulder part a few times to get it right. I've also constructed the armature so that the head can be removed to make the portrait easier to sculpt, and also the hand can be removed to make it easier to mould.
Welcome! I have been commissioned by Woking Borough Council to create a figurative sculpture of the author HG Wells which will be placed in the centre of Woking to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth in 2016. Here I will provide updates on my work in progress to give an insight into how I will create this public sculpture.
So, firstly before the exciting stage of sculpting can begin it is important to ensure that I have plenty of suitable reference material on HG Wells. To ensure I am creating a true likeness, I need good images of HG Wells from the right time period and also from multiple angles. These pictures are also used to take precise measurements of points on his face and body to help me create an accurate representation. Luckily I already have a lot of images I used to create the maquette (small scale rough model of the statue) but can always do with more, so I'm spending my first few weeks on the project collecting materials online, and from Woking and Br...