Concreting the Statue

Sorry for the long break between posts – I haven’t been in the right frame of mind to write.

The class has been great fun, and over three lessons, I finished the statue.

I had to make some changes – she ended up wearing a long dress instead of a bikini, as the chicken wire armature was too big to allow me to shape her as I wanted – she would have had HUGE legs which would have detracted from the parts of her that were actually supposed to be huge!

And she won’t be holding a planter as her arms aren’t strong enough to hold a pot filled with soil.

Other than that, I’m happy with my first attempt…

Lesson 2

Using a wet and rough mix of concrete, small gravel, and sand (and wearing rubber gloves) we squeezed the mix into the metal armature:

Statue baseStatue bodyfinished1finished2

finished3I wasn’t too sure about her at this stage – she looked more like ET than a woman!

Lesson 3

This time, we wet the statue with water, brushed it with concrete glue, and started to build it up with a mix of concrete and sand (no gravel).

I soon learned that you had to do it in stages – I tried to add big boobs and a big bottom – but the concrete was too heavy, and kept sliding and falling off.

Patience, Veronique, patience.

FrontSideBackLesson 3

More water, concrete glue and concrete, this time adding bulk, shape and detail:

FrontSideBackI realised at this stage that I’d given her feet instead of hands – she has heels on her hands! Haha!

Lesson 4

To finish her off, I used medium-grade sandpaper to smooth off any rough bits, and then brushed her with cement glue to fill in small holes, and to even-out the surface:

FrontSideBackShe’s now back at home, and I’m currently painting her…once that’s done, I’ll give her a few coats of varnish, and she’ll be ready for the garden.

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Dev’s Cement Garden

I mentioned that I was taking a cement sculpture course – well, we started last week, and it was so much fun, that I’m already thinking about what my next cement project will be!

The instructor, Dev, owns an art gallery in Point aux Piments (at the start of the road that leads to the Maritim Hotel).

Gallery entrance

Gallery entrance

Main gallery

Main gallery

Plaster casts

Plaster casts

Dev taught art at a tertiary level for many years before deciding to become a full-time sculptor, and over time has created a garden full of, sometimes whimsical, sometimes historical, sculptures.

He asked us to bring clay sculptures of our projects to the first class, so I made my first one ever, based on a statue we bought in Bangkok:

side…and on my painting:

big bumsback viewShe’ll be holding a pot filled with succulents:

with potThat’s the plan, anyway!

Dev had tables set up under the banyan tree:

Under the banyanwhere he taught us how to make the armature, which is the internal metal reinforcement for the statue – from calculating proportions, to cutting the metal and shaping it.

It was also where some of my classmates decided to play Tarzan:

Me Tarzan

…or should that be Jane?

Because my sculpture required the simplest armature, he used it as an example, and made the whole thing (another reason I need to make another statue – I want to have a go!):

welding

Note the welding mask sitting ignored on the ground!

WeldingOnce the basic shape had been welded together, he twisted on wire to give shape and bulk to the hands and head:

Wire headAnd finally, he covered the main body and base with chicken wire:

Chicken wire

In addition to providing strength, the wire will give the cement something to grab on to.

Finally, I actually got to do some work – painting the armature with metal primer to prevent rust :

painting

Smile, why don’t you – it’s fun!!!

Drying in the sun

Drying in the sun

Looks quite good as it is – I’m a little nervous about the cement stage – the clay was easy to work with – I hope the cement is too.

We’ll see come Thursday!