In the fall of 2013 I had the privilege of attending an introduction to portrait sculpting class instructed by Melanie Furtado. The class was enjoyable and engaging and Melanie is an inspiring and informative instructor. The class provided me with all the tools I need to take a portrait sculpture from a loop of wire, some newspaper and a lump of clay to a finished piece of art. In the class we completed a portrait of the handsome Michiel (above). After class I was inspired and itching to do another and so on my winter holidays, I did just that!
The sculpture above is complete in it’s wet state, awaiting a bit of drying to make it ready for hollowing out before firing. The name of the piece is The Reluctant Medusa. Going through the sculpting process without instruction was challenging and yet so much fun. My husband Andrew provided me with much appreciated feedback throughout the process. It is always important to take a step back and view a work-in-progress from an objective perspective and to get the same of others, especially other artists whose opinion you respect.
At one point the piece was technically complete and I recognized the need to take it further, into the realm of art. After consideration and a bit of creative thinking, I worked with the expression of the sculpture to make her appear somewhat disconcerted. I wanted her to be more than just a pretty face. I also worked with the flowing nature of her hair to introduce symbolism in the form of a snake which wraps from the back of her head to the front of her shoulder. The Reluctant Medusa.
And now I wait and take a creative break during the drying period to see where the sculpture goes once fired and ready for adornment. Below is a slideshow of some of the steps in the process.
I hope everyone has the chance in their lifetime (maybe even 2014!) to experience the sense of achievement I did at learning a skill I so deeply admire in another. Melanie helped me in that goal and so she is my hero for 2013. Thank you Melanie!