Craig Connolly from Monaghan County Council was passing and kindly took the opportunity to drop in and check progress. Here he is assesssing the plinth design maquette
This is the maquette enlarged verbatim as it were. I want the feeling of the maquette to transfer to the full size and here, once enlarged, I can see where the structural problems might be. It’s hard to see in these photos but the proportions are all over the place ... the torso is too short and the upper legs too long...the arms are different lengths and his head looks big. However, I like the general aspect of the pose which is curious and interested. More on my thinking behind the pose in a later post. I have asked Martin to come and sit for me again tomorrow to check my proportions and, I hope, cast his hands to plaster for reference.
Once the armature is wrapped in chicken wire, the first layer of clay goes on. This makes good TimeLapse material. The next stage is plotting the primary points - circled below. These will help me triangulate the proportions to scale and with fidelity with the maquette
The clay will be modelled on to a steel armature. The armature is plotted from the maquette using the baseboard crosshairs and plumb lines and then welded onto a steel support known as a back-iron. The back-iron takes most of the weight. It is, of course, important that the armature runs through the middle of the final form. Here is a sequence from back-iron to basic armature.
The first step in scaling to full-size is to decide upon the scale. Our first encounter with a sculpture is usually an awareness of scale; the size of the work relative to its surroundings. In the open air, to make a figure appear life size, I generally increase the dimensions of the sculpture by at least 1.25, which ups the volume by something like 60% (maths experts please verify). As Tom is sitting, I am going a little larger.
From maquette to full size, I work out a percentage increase. Later I will work back from the full size to the ley figure. I kind of know why I do it this way round, but find it hard to explain - its allong the lines of not wishing to dilute the spirit of the maquette with an interim stage. As you will see in the armature stage in a later post, the feeling of the maquette should be apparent even in the steel superstructure.
Here are some stage photos of the maquette enlargement process
This my first go at time-lapse Taine...thanks for the tips. Will aim to improve as the project progresses
This morning we hear of sad news of Tom’s death; I’m rarely at a loss for words and cannot find them today. With best wishes to your family and friends Tom
Here are some of the tributes - the sheer volume of column inches devoted to this moment in time gives you an idea of the regard in which Tom is held.
Using a rough cast of the maquette, I am re- designing the plinth with visitors in mind. If I were to stand by the sculpture I would like to be on his facing side. As it stands, the steps on his right prevent you standing beside him so I am nudging them around to the other side to make room for someone to stand on the ground.
To begin the full-size, I start by finding a model of similar proportions and photograph them in the right clothes. This gives me a good idea of how the fabric falls and forms the basis of the drapery design.
Tom has lent me some of his kit from the 70's. So as to preserve the clothes (which will be wrapped onto a ley figure for reference) I have asked costumier, Elizabeth Gurney, to copy them. Here we are discussing how best to do this, where the pulls and falls are and the weight of fabric.
Jumping ahead about a month, here is the finished maquette. The aim of this is to set the general direction for the final work and start to work out the design of the plinth.
Discussing possible sites for the sculpture around and about Market Square
Now I have been given the brief from the Commissioners, I set about composing the sculpture by way of maquettes (small 3D sketches). These are made in clay to start with and, once I am happy with the feel, cast to plaster. A typical maquette for me is about 1/4 life-size.
I first met Tom at his lovely home in Oram in late 2017. We were introduced by Margo O'Donnell and I enjoyed a couple of hours in their company. Thank you Tom for your warm welcome; you made me feel immediately at home.
My first port of call is Margo O'Donnell, the celebrated Irish Country singer who is key to the project. Margo's office is decked out with photographs from Margo's rich and varied career - Margo with Chrystal Gayle, Margo with Dolly P.,..it goes on. What a treat.