Maquettes and Armatures
I spend the first several weeks or months of a new body of work writing about my ideas and creating 20 or more 3-D thumbnail sketches and maquettes for the main characters that revolve around a central theme for the exhibition. The size, shape, atmosphere, location, and culture of the exhibition space plays a key role in how the bodies of these 6-8 figures will occupy the gallery environment. The way in which they interact with each other and the viewers becomes an important part of how the pieces are designed: scale, color, gesture, and architectural interaction.
After the final maquette is put together, another 1-2 weeks is spent designing a pipe armature that will support the figure as effortlessly as possible in order to allow the most dynamic range of gesture and expression. Part of that design means incorporating pipe joints into corresponding anatomical pivot points. This way the solid mass of clay can still be moved and articulated during the sculpting process (ie: a joint in the neck so the head can be turned, joints in the shoulders and hips to allow for further articulation of the torso, etc).
The armatures for the limbs (front and back legs) are made from a single wooden dowel, covered in electrical tape and bent at each joint. This simple armature is then covered in a clay coil and added to the body. (for a more in-depth look at this process, visit the page on this site: “Making of a Rush of Blood to the Head”).
Below are a few examples of various maquettes and armatures for finished pieces you can find on the main portfolio page.