Dogs are a big part of my life. They are like members of my family offering unconditional love, friendship, a sense of fun and adventure. My morning dog walk around the nearby lake keeps me in tune with nature and gives me the breathing space to help sort out the day ahead. I enjoy observing my German Pointers on the walk, watching their movement, behaviour, body language and subtle expression. I cannot imagine life without my faithful friends.
Another special dog was to come to my attention. I was contacted by a client who wanted to commission a sculpture of their Golden Retriever, Poppy. It was to be a special 60th Birthday present for her husband. Poppy is a mature dog of 12yrs and very much a part of their family. She also happens to be very beautiful and, in her youth, known for having a rich golden coat. I was delighted to sculpt Poppy for them.
As with all my pet commissions, I have a set of views I require to help me build up a picture of the animal. With sculpture you are making the entire body, not just one view! So for Poppy’s owner I had to set photographic homework. Apparently sausages worked very well as a bribe! Once the images came through I could set to. It was decided a sitting pose was most Poppy-like.
She is absolutely adorable and the glaze is perfect. At the moment I cannot think of words to express my gratitude for the fantastic job you have done to bring out the character of our ‘child’. She will be with us for many years now and will be a constant memory.
Slab-building the body is a relatively quick process allowing the whole animal to to look vaguely recognisable within half an hour so proportions can be calculated, composition can be balanced and narrative begins to emerge. From then on it takes many hours of careful modelling to make the sculpture not just a generic Golden Retriever but a sculpture of the one and only Poppy.
Once the sculpture was finished I needed to apply the glaze. I did some 50 glaze tests beforehand, as the colour was such a critical element of this dog sculpture and some glazes appear quite a different colour on raw application to the fired finish. Fortunately, my client was delighted with the result and it even brought a tear to her husband’s eye on the day of his birthday.