I'm definitely not a sporty person but I certainly couldn't ignore the fact that the 2012 Olympic games are happening in my city and I felt I should make something to mark the occasion - so here's introducing......
Miss London Town and Miss Get-set-go
Miss Get-set-go wears a costume and headgear which is a wild cacophony of Olympic sporting equipment and outfits
As usual I've cast from real objects and materials. Most things are miniature items except for the swimming goggles and shuttlecock which are both real size
These are some of the objects I accumulated - I was surprised how very hard it was to find miniature sporting things and it took a lot of hunting around.
The original sculpture with the first layer of silicone poured over to create the mould.
It was an absolute stroke of luck to find these 'WINNER' medals in a party shop -where I also spied the miniature trophies.
I researched the sporting outfits of every single Olympic sport to get ideas for the costume and the vast majority were really uninspiring - just figure hugging neoprene and boring vests and shorts - it wasn't until I got to Fencing and Sailing that I found interesting shapes and textures, so her outfit is a rather bizarre mix of these two sports.
I was pleased with how the life jacket came out - it's so strange to see a supposed air-filled pillow turned into something solid and heavy as plaster is. It's precisely this kind of contradiction which first made me interested in certain figurative sculpture and also gave me the idea of casting from real materials and objects.
For other parts of the costume I used various textures - like netting and nylon straps and buckles - which to me seem to epitomize sporty-type outfits and equipment.
Miss Get-set-go was certainly the most challenging bust technically I've made so far. Constructing the 'hat' was a nightmare as everything kept toppling off as I was trying to work out a good composition. Making a two-part mould was difficult too - finding an appropriate place to make the split and hoping that all the undercutting in the shapes wouldn't stop the plaster releasing from the mould. I just crossed my fingers and I was actually surprised - and thrilled - it worked so well!
I wanted Miss London Town to be the ultimate London souvenir!
Her Beefeater-style hat is adorned with more or less every iconic London souvenir I could find.
I scoured virtually every tourist shop in central London - from Baker Street to Piccadilly Circus - to find the most iconic London imagery. I like the fact the scales are all wrong i.e. a pillar box is taller than Tower Bridge and a double decker bus is as fat as Big Ben!
Her costume is half and half Admiral Lord Nelson - with medals, epaulettes and braid - and half Punk - with chains zips and safety pins!
Check out the mini-Lord Nelson on her hat.
Making the Punk half of the costume was definitely the biggest fun....
.....but altogether I enjoyed the challenge of making these busts to a (self-imposed) 'brief' and of creating two sculptures which could visually represent our beautiful and crazy London Town PLUS the most important sporting event of the world this summer. I hope I've achieved that!
See the whole collection of Plaster Busts