Last weekend, I tried something new. Or rather something I haven’t done since my days studying art at the Ontario College of Art about 30 years ago. I attended Tineke Doornbosch’s Garden Spirits workshop to create an outdoor sculpture.
This is the beginning. I am trying to model the form by folding and scrunching foil wrap over top of a wire which initially looked very much like a stick figure you would draw in kindergarten. It is not easy trying to get the arms and legs to look shapely and real.
Tineke and I getting down and dirty. We are dripping strips of cotton into a liquid acrylic mixture called Powertex. Next we further model the figure by wrapping the wet pieces around the foil armature we just made. Very messy! Did I ever tell you about the time I climbed a Mt Batur volcano in central Bali? To make the summit by sunrise, we started in the dark at 4 am. I resisted putting my hands down until I could no longer climb without putting my life in danger. That is when I first realized I don’t like dirty hands or dirt under my nails. I will do almost anything to avoid it. The figure at the end of this stage resembles a mummy. Now begins the elegant and fun part: the time to drape on the wet cloth to make the clothes and the lace shawl. It also covers up at lot of the mistakes underneath.
But when I got my piece home, I began to notice the flaws. In my initial exuberance at the workshop, I had overlooked these. After recovering from a bout of flu (during which I obsessively dreamed about how to make the corrections), I set about trying to make it right.
Can you guess the changes I am about to make?
Here is Tribal Madonna, the final product. She is 19 in by 14 inches from hand to hand. She sits on the top of a large (very heavy) piece of marble. After removing the shawl very carefully, I thickened and reshaped her skinny left arm. I enlarged her feet making them more in proposition to the rest of her body. Also, I gave her a thicker less “Barbie-like” waistline. Mission accomplished! Now I am really pleased. In the springtime, I will find her a display spot in the garden. What do you think…can you see any of my remaining flaws?