2018 has been a busy year creatively for Hamish Mackie Sculptures! I’ve completed 16 sculptures, made a couple of research trips, exhibited work, and tried out some new approaches and different styles.
I started the year by sculpting Fallow Buck Running 2018 and Fallow Buck Standing 2018. I had spent much of the winter studying their behaviour in the wild and taking photographs. So many times I’d spot a deer after he had already seen me! He would be standing stock still, staring at me on high alert for a second, before taking off. It was an intriguing moment and I wanted to capture it in my sculpture. Creating this pair of companion pieces allowed me to convey a sense of greater narrative, a trend which I was to continue throughout the year. I cast both the deer in bronze in natural positions and they look particularly effective in a country garden.
HARES AND OTTERS
Appropriately enough, I found myself sculpting hares again in March. One of my signature subjects, I come back to this fascinating animal over and over. I made two head studies in very different styles. Hare Head 2018 is slightly larger than life size and is loosely modelled with some very gestural mark making. Hare Head Carved 2018 is a new style for me. Carved from plaster originally, I wanted this sculpture to have both an ancient and a modern quality at the same time.
I also wanted to create a study of boxing hares as I had done last year. They can get themselves into the most extraordinary positions during a bout of spring fever! Hares 2018 proved quite a feat of engineering as I pushed the limits of what was structurally possible. Of course, I am lucky to work with the ever-resourceful Lockbund Foundry who always rise to the challenge. They always find a way to cast my sculptures, however difficult the composition.
Otters 2018 was another structural test. Like Hares 2018, I wanted a dynamic twisting shape to demonstrate the sinuous agility of their bodies. My composition plays on the idea of an infinity curve with its use of S lines and negative space.
RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW
In May, I worked with Bowles and Wyer who designed and built my set for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Knight Frank were my generous sponsors. It looked amazing and we made some good sales. Hamish Mackie sculptures found homes in New York, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Zealand, Staatsburg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Jersey!
I visited some of the conservancies of the Northern Rangelands Trust in Kenya. There is so much inspiring conservation work going on. I went back to Lewa while I was there, one of my favourite places on earth and caught up with my old friends Jane and Ian Craig. On my return, I finished sculpting a series of African animals and again, story telling was on my mind.
Dik dik 2018 was informed by the research I did at Il Ngwesi. The sculpture shows a pair of these miniature antelope, extremely shy and watchful creatures. The base depicts a rived bed, complete with a dik dik scrape and the tracks of elephants, leopard, and warthog. My guides at Il Ngwesi explained how the river bed acts as a kind of ‘bush telegraph’, revealing the marks left by the wild animals that recently passed by.
Impala 2018, Cheetah 2018 and Cheetah Impala Kill 2018 form a narrative series. The sculptures are scaled perfectly to work as a trio, but they are available individually. They depict a snapshot of life in the African bush and depending on placement, the story can change!
At Lewa, I spent some time with an orphaned caracal which was being hand-reared. My Caracal Head 2018 is the result of that very hands-on research! It was rather thrilling to receive this message from one of my collectors who bought the sculpture: “When I took it out the box and placed it on the table, one of my pet Savannah cats immediately went into flight/flight mode, tail bristling and crouching and stalking...”
This year, Mrs Mackie and I were invited to Royal Ascot as guests of our friends Justin and Christine Gardner from Muse, the Sculpture Company. My Andalusian Stallion and Otters 2018 were on public display. It was great fun and also happened to be my birthday!
In July, the President of the United States visited the UK. During his stay, he was a guest of the Duke of Marlborough at a dinner at Blenheim Palace. I was flattered that my bust of Sir Winston Churchill was chosen by His Grace as a gift for the President.
PLANS FOR 2019
There are some great new sculptures coming out of the foundry that will be ready for sale in the new year. I sculpted some black rhino inspired by a hand-reared calf that was being looked after at Reteti when I was there. They should be ready by February. I also sculpted some giant ammonite fossils which the foundry had to find a way of casting into stainless steel. Thanks to their new induction tilt furnace, they should be available by May.
I am currently working on a covey of grouse after a research trip to Northumberland in the autumn. I have really enjoyed getting into the textures and patterns I see in their glorious feathers. Quite a change to be sculpting birds again – it has been a while.
2018 has been a year of surprises for Hamish Mackie Sculptures and trying out new things. Thank you all for your continued support. I can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring. Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!