Not having two mortgages, not coming home from work at 20:30 — circumstances conspired together to make it finally possible, after a hiatus of more than twenty years, to do sculpture again. I can’t do anything 3D with a computer, but I’m quite decent with my fingers. And I love working with wax above all other stuff: I’m a lumper, not a splitter or a cutter.
We had three sessions working with clay from a live model (Irina, actually, who models a lot for different art courses), and by now three sessions working on my own idea, with wax. Many people prefer clay, but I like wax because you can make thinner, more detailed things with it and because it’s not as soft and pliant. Even so, I regularly hold my work under the cold tap to make the wax harder.
This kind of sculpture starts with soldering together a frame of copper wire, bending it into a position and then piling on the flesh^Wwax. Small errors have big consequences: I put the bend for the shoulders too high, which meant that from the start it looked like the subject was lifting something fairly heavy.
Given that the idea of sculpture, at least for me, is piling on flesh, the subject turned into a woman fairly quickly, which made it easy to decide on what she would lift: either a tiger cub, or a child. And then I suddenly had a chunk of wax in my fingers that made a very good baby belly, so I went with the trite and the cliché: mother and child.
The other people in the class liked it a lot, but were divided on what I had made: someone suggested a mother laying down her child during a famine, another thought it was a grandmother with her grandchild (no doubt because I have been having fun with the drooping plum-like breasts), another thought of Moses and the Egyptian princess, yet another of baptism. Poly-interpretability rules!
For me the weird thing is that this work is a clear and straight continuation of what I was doing twenty years ago: the touch is the same, the way I distorted the woman’s anatomy is the same. The size is a bit bigger. And strangely enough, without any practice, I still think I’ve become a bit surer in my touch and I am also more conscious of the sculpture in the round, as it were, so I’ve put a set of pictures from all sides on flickr (Deviant art has trouble uploading a dozen pictures in one go).
Our teacher is Annelies van der Drift. If you can read Dutch: more information about the classes can be found here. There is a great set of students in this group: some of them are very advanced, extremely good, others are just beginning — and one is picking up old threads.