Wednesday, 9 May 2012


 While I was bringing boxes to storage, visiting flat after flat, riding in trains, wearing out my shoes in the streets of Glasgow, and then flying across the sea, something amazing was going on over at Clive Hicks-Jenkins' blog.  In fact, I only mention these little pursuits of mine as a way of framing an excuse for not having mentioned Clive's incredible online exhibition of maquettes sooner.  More than twenty far-flung artists took part in the show, creating a truly marvellous and extremely varied body of work.  I will just be sharing my contribution to the show here, but do have a look at the excellent maquettes that the others have made.  The show is in five parts (first, second, third, fourth, fifth) and I promise it is very worth your time.

The exhibition grew out of Clive's own use of maquettes as a compositional tool when planning his paintings.  Visitors to his website and blog were interested in the maquettes and some, notably Zoe Jordan, started to adopt the practice themselves, which led Clive to invite other artists to do the same. 

When Clive first contacted me about making a maquette I thought it might be interesting to use the mobility of a maquette to bring to life the sort of people you find carved into the sablières of old churches in Brittany.  I thought that way we could place them up in the corners of the room and move them about from time to time, to make with them a sort of slow, ongoing story written across the walls.

However, all at once we found that life had a lot of changes in store for us and that idea was put aside.  It seemed important to make something strong and changeable, something not-of-this-world, something able to overcome all adversity.  And so I took advantage of the maquette's ability to move and hide or reveal different parts of itself.

I designed it so that its cape could hide different heads, a halo, and wings, and made it so that the cape could also spread open very wide or hide extra arms between its folds.  Of course, it is easy enough to remove unwanted arms completely so there is not any trace of the extra ones at all, as I did for most of the photos.  Still, it seemed important to make it so that everything could just be rotated around and hidden away, rather than disassembled.

Just to be sure everything would work, I made a quick mock up of my maquette. I suppose that is a little bit funny, since these maquettes are generally used as a sort of preparatory study for other artworks, but still, I wanted to see how everything would go together before drawing and painting all the bits and pieces.

Even before everything was done, some of the pieces started to come together and form rudimentary people:

It was actually a lot of fun to play with all the pieces before they were attached, increasing the amount of combinations and odd poses that could be formed.  However, even attached, there are possible transformations that I didn't expect when I dreamt this maquette up to begin with.

How lucky to find that I could add horns and ears to the male and female heads as well!

This maquette is wholly a creature of change and transformation, further proof of which is the backdrop which it was photographed upon -- one of the many cardboard boxes that was taking over our living space at the time the maquette was made.  It really was so much better to transform obstacles into something that worked for me rather than getting dragged down by them.

But like I said before, this maquette is only one out of the many maquettes that were made for Clive's online exhibition.  If you haven't already, go and see the other contributions to this project and the surprising and wonderful interpretations of it.  There were beautiful submissions from some talented artists who are also friends in bloglandia, such as Leonard Greco and Rima Staines, and Zoe, mentioned earlier.  Clive himself also included some of his own lovely maquettes at the end of the show.  I hope he knows how much we all appreciate his hard work and encouragement.

Go see, go see, go see!


  1. i love! what you did with this-- and i didn't even know how cleverly you'd managed to make it so that you didn't have to detach any of the parts to show one character or the other. aside from the beauty of its parts and wholes in general, i'm completely taken by the fact that you can clearly see the idea of moods and forces, of that quote by whitman: "do i contradict myself? very well, then, i contradict myself. i am large, i contain multitudes..."

    my favorite, though, has to be the horns and ears on the woman, although the photo of them all leaning to one side, sword out (second photo), is also quite effective.

  2. All of these images are witty and beautiful but my own favourite is the very first image, the white fierce looking bird with a halo (please forgive for not knowing exactly what it is; egret, stork, heron? I'm not very up on avenging white birds from the Bible as depicted in Brittany) and secondly the antelope or goat's head with those brilliant horns. And the wings!! Also particularly the photo of the two maquettes side by side, one blank and the other showing all it's different aspects at the same time. Very, very clever. A bit like an Egyptian or Indian deity, with all their arms and heads, or more relevantly, something from Revelations. Thanks so much for sharing those invigorating ideas with us!

  3. Every one of these positions evokes new dreams and stories :-) wonderful amazing awesome work, Jodi, too beautiful, I would never have the patience to do this (I have only patience for etching :D) This work and your work in general gives great possibilities for animation, still, I prefer your drawings etchings and paintings : your art that brings so much movement in the soul of the one who gives some attention to see. Love and blessings.

  4. Heisann Jodi!

    I visit you to two reasons: Wishing you a nice Springtime and having your blog back on My bloglist which suddenly disappeared by accident.
    Are you now living in Glasgow ????
    My son has his Master in World Cultural Heritage from Caledonian University of Glasgow.

    Fun to create and play with 'Sprellemann' as we call the paperdolls in Norwegian. Well done, Jodi ;:OD)

  5. these are amazing!I can see the stories in each one of their motions.

  6. Very interesting to see the additional aspects of your maquette--was surprised by the eared and horned one particularly... I liked it at Clive's site but am now even more pleased with its transformations.

  7. Sorry, I know I'm very late on writing back... but just in case you should find your way here:

    That's a really wonderful quote, thanks for bringing that up. I was thrilled when I realized that I'd be able to make this transforming, mufti-faceted creature with the maquette... that is one thing that is difficult to do in a painting. Maybe this maquette will lead to something on that front though.

    The bird was an egret, the other was on oryx. Actually, I didn't end up going ahead with the Breton-inspired idea in the end, so there's no need to interpret this through any sort of Breton religious filter, don't worry!
    Thank you for your lovely comment!

    That was such a sweet comment, thank you. I think I have much more patience for etchings and paintings too, though it was interesting to work on this little departure from my usual methods. I think it gave me a bit of a new angle on making things, and who knows how and where that will show up in other creations!

    Thanks for stopping by, I hope that you had a lovely springtime as well. I was only in Glasgow for a few days on my way to Canada, now I'm back in Aberdeen... but Glasgow is a lovely city that I'd love to visit again soon. I'll have to look for more info on Sprellemann!

    Introverted Art,
    Thanks so much, that is lovely to hear!

    Thank you so much. I was surprised and very pleased by the eared and horned one myself... that was really a lucky accident that everything lined up so well in the end!

  8. Wow Jodie, these maquettes of yours are stunning and very French looking, they put me in mind of the colours and patterns of tiles and paintings within Sainte-Chapelle - I can easily imagine them stepping out from the walls or columns on a crusade of their own!

  9. ... oh and the exhibition is amazing, thank you for pointing the way over there.