The Sculpting Process: Modelling

Before leaving for India, I was working on a small sculpture of a hare’s head. I like playing with the idea of sculptures that are slightly fragmented. It gives them a timeless essence.It could be old or new and they still carry my signature gestural quality. The sculpting process is always the same.

This is an important aspect of the work I do, that my pieces are appreciated regardless of time and place. They are recognisable interpretations of the natural world, and as such require little explanation. Yet they have a very modern sensibility.

With my hare’s head, I began by a creating a metal armature. It is like a skeleton over which I will sculpt the piece. The great thing about building over a metal armature is that you aren’t creating a sculpture to last. This means I can use a soft plasticine which makes the modelling process really fluid.

Once I have the armature, the next part of the sculpting process is to mix a new brew of modelling material. It is a combination of African Beeswax and plasticine. I recycle this brew over and over again until it becomes too sticky to work with. The beeswax dilutes over the years with softer and softer plasticine. The remnants of many different animals…

Sometimes the tub of modelling material looks quite surreal. It might be full of odd bits: grouse wings, Roe Deer antlers, small elephants. I don’t keep my original models because they don’t last, but I have the moulds. And then the actual bronze pieces are born at the end of the process.

I am really looking forward to seeing this hare’s head cast in bronze. The last one I did as a limited edition of 12 sold out in two weeks!

Hamish Mackie works on Hare Head sculpture