Most of my large and medium sized works start as models in clay which is tactile and versatile. The smaller more delicate works are fired and glazed to become ceramics. I make these small works together with the maquettes for some of my larger pieces.
The really large structures are often made directly from plaster and this requires a quite different method of working. Layers of quickly setting wet plaster are built up on a frame. Unlike clay, it doesn’t have to be kept damp between working sessions and supports itself as soon as it dries. The surface may be treated in many ways, by carving and filing as well as adding more wet plaster detail.
Over each finished clay or plaster model I make a mould, usually of flexible silicone with a supporting jacket of reinforced plaster or cement. These moulds consist of several sections which must bolt together in perfect alignment. Mould making is more of a technical skill, but for me it is part of the whole process and I enjoy the craftsmanship of making a good workable mould.
I make all my own moulds and do my own casting and patination and in this way I retain control over the finished work. The colour of the sculpture is important to me and many of my cement pieces are coloured quite distinctively. Pigments are sometimes added to the cement body during casting. In other works the surface is treated after casting and may consist of four or five separate applications of varying colours.