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Bust: Lafayette

Introducing a rather tall mademoiselle inspired by a trip to Paris in the early summer...........

.......... when thinking I might take the opportunity to add to my collection of French cashmere cardigans (my favourite!) we strolled to Galerie Lafayette only to find it covered in scaffolding. Very serendipitous for me because this fantastic hat was on one of the hoardings - pure sculpture.

The shape actually turned out to be pretty tricky to make - at least to try and keep the same proportions .

I added netting to the surface to introduce an element of texture - it was one of those netting bags they wrap fruit in and I was pleased the strong pattern it made given how fine the threads were.

It's always a rather tense moment taking the first ever cast from the mould and a big relief when it turns out OK. Actually, my mould making skills have improved considerably since I started this collection and I'm much more confident now that I can achieve good results and know what will work and what won't.

I added the roses - the original had no adornment at all which I did like but somehow the flowers just tipping over the edge seemed to add an interesting contrast to the simplicity of the overall shape - and I do love asymmetry.

I often conceive the hats and costumes quite separately - as in this case. While intermittently gazing out of the window while searching for ideas in my image banks (my computer is in front of the window) my eyes kept settling on a skip opposite my house - I liked the way the tarpaulin was stretched and tied around the form of the skip (I'd played with this idea before in my Masked Raiders). So this inspired the 'breastplate' of Lafayette's costume.

Interestingly she turned out to have quite a military stance I thought - quite unintentional!  Everything completely changes when I transform my original sculpture, made up of all kinds of many-coloured materials and flotsam and jetsam into monochrome, opaque plaster -you can never predict exactly what this new character will be like - and that's the magic part of making my plaster busts.

Lafayette is the first of three demoiselles with a Parisian flavour - the others are coming soon.

Meanwhile - from 25th - 28th October lots of the busts will be on show at the Affordable Art Fair, Battersea on the stand of Cavaliero Finn 
I was thrilled when the organisers of the fair decided to use my plaster bust Miss Get-set-go for all the flyers and publicity!


  1. You should have an exhibition, I would love to see all your plaster busts together! This one is such a great Sculptural form and gets away from the leggy Paris Fashion Week look of the Galerie Lafayette hoarding, just brilliant, bravo!!!
    I have been looking in wonder at some of your blogs, I am trying a retro plaster cast for this years school film trophies commission, the mould making is so tedious and I dread to think what your materials bills must be. I should sign up for a few lessons and see if I can pick up some of your amazing casting skills!

  2. Thanks for your brilliantly positive comments as usual Roger! Re your idea of having an exhibition of my busts - in fact I am!! Next spring I'm having a solo show at the wonderful Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing - the country house built by Sir John Soane, I'm looking forward to that but lots of work still to do.
    And from October 25th lots of the busts will be on show at the Affordable Art Fair, Battersea on the stand of Cavaliero Finn. In fact, the organisers used Miss Get-set-go for the flyer and posters! I've slipped a couple of pics into the post above.
    Good luck with your casting and mouldmaking - I'm sure you and ANYONE is better than me at these things, I'm pretty slapdash.

  3. All of your work is breathtaking and enviable for me, including this latest piece. I discovered you via your partner Justin Mortimer, someone who's paintings I fell in love with years ago, and only recently started following your blog although I'd noticed and admired images of your awesome sculptures linked to his page for a while. I do small still life and landscape paintings on my blogger page, but I also work on more conceptual pieces that I consider more personal and aspire to find more time for these (can be found on http://www.mryczek.com/personal.htm). I guess both your and Justin's art appeal to this end of my taste spectrum, and I am always amazed to find such talented artist pairings. I am not even that into sculpture in general, but your pieces are really amazing; beautifully rendered and tasteful, you are clearly a skilled draftsman as well. Congratulations and I look forward to more from both of you!

    _Mike Ryczek


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