In the spring of 2015 I challenged myself to produce a "premier" range of figures. The result was a tableau of eighteenth century French figures modelled after the Film "Marie Antoinette."
Why did you decide to create a “premier range” of figures?
I have had a full time business for nearly ten years, so making “spare time” to push the boundaries of my work has been challenging! That said, over the last three years I have been working on miniature rooms and settings in my spare time. I have developed my skills with these miniatures and collected the work of other artists. In turn, this inspired me to improve my figures in order to compliment the scenes I have been creating (please see miniature rooms above). This coincided with the introduction of the PIMA awards in association with Ahmed Al Thani and the Kensington Dolls House Festival which gave me the final “nudge” that I needed!
What is special about the “premier figures”?
I set out with an aim to create a representation of “people” in miniature as opposed to “dolls.” I like to think of a miniature setting as a three dimensional painting. Therefore, I pay particular attention to the proportion of the figure, posture, shading of the figure and the representation of fabrics. I have also attempted to achieve a likeness to the actresses in the film still however, as with my attempts at portraiture, achieving a true likeness requires far more practice which I look forward to in my future endeavours!
Why do the “Premier figures” take longer to produce?
I include extra stages in the production process, with many additional paint firings, in addition to sculpting and adapting the porcelain for specific poses. Note the little girl’s hand clenched under her chin and Marie Antoinette’s fingers. Needless to say figures do not emerge from moulds looking like this! It is an extremely intricate task.
Have you developed any new techniques to create the premier figures?
I have attended a portrait class recently which has inspired me to use a different painting technique, using shading and detail techniques similar to those I have used in portraiture, adapted for miniatures. This has involved additional paint firings and painting the whole piece (including the fingers) to achieve a more accurate representation of people in miniature. In addition to this I encorporated silk polishing in preparing the porcelain.
Why did you choose to work from film stills instead of a picture in your head?
The areas of my work that I most wanted to develop was the porcelain figure as opposed to costuming and wigging. That said, I wanted the piece to (hopefully) display my understanding and miniature interpretation of the construction of eighteenth century French court costume. For this reason I have chosen these costumes with clean lines and minimal adornment. I felt the film stills, as opposed to fashion plates provided the greatest challenge in terms of re-creating a likeness and accurate representation.
Marie Antoinette £325
King Louis £345
Young Courtiere in pink £285
Young Courtiere in cream £205