Saturday, 14 July 2012

Next Project... a little different

For ages I've been toying with the idea of making a sculpture of an archer, trying to incorporate the flowing movement of the draw. A while back I did a sketch, and a couple of weeks ago we went to the Royal Academy of Art, Summer Exhibition where, amongst the huge variety of work was a small rather static, stylised sculpture of a headless target archer out of sheet metal.
This galvanised me into action, so I picked up some thin offcuts of Yew and started playing to see what was possible. I had to use my heat bending tricks from bow making to get tight bends and made a few early mistakes. I could see there was some potential there and did some more sketches.
Later as I sat watching telly I made a cardboard cutout model of the basic form. I want to add in another couple of arm/bow positions to portray the movement of the draw, but of course it runs the risk of ending up looking like a multi-armed deity! I may go for a slightly shorter bow too.
It's absolutely hammering down with rain at the mo' so I'm reluctant to even pop out into the garage (the family joke that I need a 'Dad flap' into the garage along the lines of the cat flap). I'll probably stay indoors and do more to the cardboard maquette (Maquette? Pretentios? Moi?)
The dillema is, do you rush in and make something rather rough with oodles of spontaneity, or do you do loads of studies, sketches and experimentation and end up with a sterile laboured, but much better finished work? One problem is that you can seldom see your work with fresh eyes, unless you happen to stumble upon it whilst tidying the loft or somesuch. that's why an honest opinion from someone who's judgement you value is so useful.
Same goes for the bows too, I still like my wife's delicately put criticism of one longbow with a bit of S shaped bend in one limb "There's character, and there's too much character" !
I straightened it!
You can see I've done some more. Ah the joy of modern adhesive! I can remeber the frustration as a kid trying to make stuff out of cardboard with 'gloy' and other such useless glues. High viscosity superglue, brilliant quick and effective.
The arm/head sub assembly slots on so I can maybe add a third bow and pair of arms. The numbers of arms and bows doesn't have to tally, I'm after the impression of movement, easilly done in a drawing with animation lines going swoosh but not so easy in the solid, mind I could model in the animation lines, maybe a big sound bubble "Swoosh twang...thud" shades of Pop art and Lichtenstein's 'Wham'!

The model has shown me that the right arm will be tricky in Yew as it has some nasty angles, and the shoulder area becomes rather crowded. The different views each give very differenent feel and can reveal unexpected effects.
I'm very enthusiastic about doing it in Yew now.


  1. Looking for Duchamp effect?,_No._2

    I'm used to artists throwing away a lot of attempts, so I lean toward the first camp.
    But I also lean toward a Japanese minimalism, so clearly doesn't apply here.
    You at least have a clear concept, get in there and wrestle with it in disposable media.

  2. Cheers, I hadn't seen that work before, I like it, but I'm not after something quite that busy. Mind you can have too much minimalism ;).
    Yeah, I love Japanese stuff, some great pieces in the V&A Museum.
    The Yew version is coming along quite nicely, I may end up doing a series with varying degrees of abstraction and movement. It's nice to follow one's whim, no timescale to worry about.