My work is featured in the current Westcountry Potters Association Newsletter, which is arranging a visit to my studio in April. The article is reproduced below. If you are interested in joining a workshop, please contact the studio for more information. You can also sign up for my newsletter to make sure you hear about forthcoming workshops and other events.
There’s undoubtedly a downside to the ubiquity of social media, but there are great benefits too. A chance ‘Like’ on Facebook newsfeed introduced me to the wonderful animal sculptures of Nick Mackman, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Working with her own blend of T-Material paper clay, Nick conveys not only the physical appearance of her chosen subject, but also something of its behaviour and character. She is fascinated by animal communication and their body language, as well as the interesting shapes so created. After bisque firing and glazing, the sculptures are rake fired to give the desired effect. Other media such as horsehair are sometimes added after the firings.
Dogs have been very important to Nick since childhood. Her favourite animal now is the wild dog. She works mainly to commission and has made the trophies for the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for the past 14 years, relishing the challenges presented by whatever subject has won the prize. Her winning entry in the 2010 Open category of the Wildlife Artist of the Year award was a warthog sculpture, now nicknamed ‘Tina Turner’ and residing with celebrated wildlife artist David Shepherd.
A summer placement as a rhino keeper at Chester Zoo during her studies at art college gave her a huge reservoir of images and material to inform her work. This has subsequently been augmented by several safari trips to Africa, leading sculpture workshops. It was quite amusing to hear her telling of the difficulties of obtaining suitable clay in Zambia – a kilo of local clay would have cost the equivalent of a bag of porcelain here. Fortunately she resourcefully found an alternative more reasonably priced supply!
Working as a full-time animal sculptor as well as having a young family and two German Pointer dogs, Nick can only rarely offer demonstrations, so we are extremely fortunate that she has agreed to let WPA visit.
As well as setting her work in context, Nick will demonstrate her making and modelling techniques, with plenty of opportunities to ask questions. Space restrictions mean that there are only 20 places available, so please return your booking form promptly to avoid disappointment.