Monthly Archives: September 2014

Rake Ribbed Caracal

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Rake Ribbed Caracal

I was lucky enough to see a caracal when I was in South Africa a few years ago so I was really excited when I was asked to make one.

It was very important to get the head right, as I think felines can be especially difficult to capture.  I had a pair of very large split pins that worked well for the eyes and I used pliers, coathooks and  other curving items to get the muzzle and cheekbones.

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Rake Ribbed Caracal

I used steel cable for the characteristic tufts on the ears and bow saw blades for other fur-like texture in places. The legs and paws used up a very large number of bull-nosed and other types of pliers as they helped define the toes.

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Rake Ribbed Caracal

I was very pleased with the movement in the piece and was careful to get the overall balance so that the front paw is just off the ground. The power in the hindquarters and shoulders are conveyed with large items such as horseshoes, clamps and spanners. On one side I even managed to incorporate a large bolt from a door.

I am very grateful to my clients for allowing me to borrow the piece back so that it can be shown at The Natural Eye, the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists which is at the Mall Galleries from Thursday 30 October until Sunday 9th November 2014.

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Rake Ribbed Caracal

 

 

Drill Tailed Squirrel

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I was thinking of subjects for sculptures for The Natural Eye, the annual exhibition of The Society of Wildlife Artists at the Mall Galleries in London, and decided that it would be fun to try and make a red squirrel.

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I tried to make the piece life size but it ended up a little too large. Despite my best efforts most pieces end up about 15 or 20 percent bigger than I intend. I think it is a combination of working with found objects and working in 3D. If I was using a malleable material such as plaster or clay I could remove or add volume fairly easily. With found objects I like to try and show as much of the shape of the original tool as possible and hesitate to grind volume away and ‘muddy’ the shapes.

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The head has a variety of tiny spanners in it and the ears are made of a large wingnut that I cut in half and dinner forks with steel cable for the tufts. Although it is a bit obvious to use colour in the piece, I think it helps to show it is a red squirrel and not the larger grey. The bulk of the red comes from an old hand drill and a canterbury hoe along with a couple of pairs of pliers that had red handles. In addition I found a coat hook that I brought back from Sark with layers of white paint which was perfect for the white belly. The tail proved a problem until I hit on the idea of using old auger drill bits.

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Scissor Green Woodpecker

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There has been a family of green woodpeckers in the horse fields over the summer so it was natural for me to try and make one. As with all smaller creatures it is actually quite tricky to make one in welded found objects. Luckily a green woodpecker is quite a characteristic shape.

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I don’t often use colour in my sculptures but I had a few red items out in my workshop from making a red squirrel so I had a red combine ‘finger’ and a red canterbury hoe to hand. It helped to confirm the species and I think it works well in this sculpture.

The beak is the make or break of any sculpture of a bird. I had to trawl through my collection of scissors to find just the right sizes for this. Parts of the handles helped with the head and the flanks. One pair even had red handles so I could use them in the head as well.

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The blades from larger scissors all went into the tails and wings. The lovely shape of the tail, which has very stiff feathers to help the bird balance when clinging to trees, is all scissor blades other than the central feather which is a very old plumb line weight.

This piece will be for sale at The Natural Eye, the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists at Mall Galleries London. The show runs from Thursday October 30th until Sunday 9th November 2014.

Blade Raven

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I enjoyed making this commission as I think corvids are very striking and lend themselves to being made out of old tools. When I make a piece I tend not to think about the item itself, as far as I’m concerned they are shapes and forms.

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The bill on a Raven is extraordinarily large and the combine ‘finger’ was a perfect start. I shaped it slightly at the tip and added an old hand made nail for the lower part and steel cable for the characteristic bristle on the top.

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The title of the piece, Blade Raven, was obvious when I realised how many blades were in the sculpture. Circular sawblades for the shaggy feathers, shear blades for the wings and tail, a sickle in the wing complete with the remnants of a ‘Spear and Jackson’ label and rotavator blades on the body among others. To add to the shaggy neck I used a small garden fork but also had an old dinner fork and a carving fork from an ancient collection of cutlery that I had been given.

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