The first clay maquette was a detailed sketch. The purpose was to determine the pose, attitude and clothing of the sculpture and provide a way to work out ideas and share them visually. The sketch was a total of 13” tall including base and hat. Now it is time to sculpt the final maquette that will be more detailed and will be used for the scaling up of the sculpture to life size. This means resculpting at 1:4 (one quarter) scale which will allow more room for detail and to solidify the sculpture and anatomy. This is the sculpture that will be 3D scanned for the enlargement.


Here is the start of the final 1/4 scale maquette. As Fannie Mae was 5’ 7” (68”) the armature at 1/4 scale is 17” tall from the bottom on the feet to the top of the head. The maquette will be about 20” overall when completed as there will be the lilypad (the bronze base she stands upon) her high heels and her hat. The lily pad will be 3” x 36” in the final bronze so at this scale it will be 3/4” x 9” and I will be fabricating this base later this week. For now I am working on the armature and starting the sculpt. The first thing I did was print out a skeleton template at 17” and cut and bent the aluminum armature wire to fit. I used hollow square brass tubing in the spine so that I can insert armature wire for the neck and head that can be removed to work off-sculpt as needed. The leg wires are inserted into the armature wire sleeves and then crimped or hammered to flatten and hold the wires securely in place. The right leg wire is also inserted 1/2 way into the hollow spine tube and epoxied into place. This leaves the top 1/2 of the brass tube open for the insertion of the head/neck armature wire later. I then cut and bent the two wires for the arms and then attached these to the spine with super glue and wrapped with thinner aluminum wire. There will also be square tubing in the right forearm just below the elbow. This will allow me to create a hand armature that can also be removed and worked on off-sculpt.


The armature for the right arm was created by cutting a hollow brass tube for the forearm. The main armature wire is inserted 1/2 way into the tube and epoxied into place. Once cured I then made the rest of the forearm by taking 5 thin wires and bundling them together to make the bone and five fingers. I then wrapped the fingers with ultra thin copper wire to web the fingers into the palm and to give the clay something to grip on to. The hand is now complete and can be inserted into the forearm and removed as needed.


Now that the armature is complete I attach it to the back iron and base. The armature is bent into the shape of the pose. The legs are left long and will be trimmed later once I have the work under way and the lily pad base constructed. In the background I have the sketch maquette handy for reference as the model while I work. 


Now it is time to begin the sculpting process using Chavant NSP Medium clay. I begin by sculpting a very rough skeleton to find all the proportions and the bony landmarks while continually checking all the measurements for accuracy.


The hand has been removed in order to begin to pose the wire fingers. Using needle nose pliers the fingers are bent into the hand pose.


The posed hand is replaced back into the forearm and work continues.


The very rough forms of the skeleton are worked up on the back, including the pelvic girdle, the spine and scapula (shoulder blades)


Throughout the entire sculpting process I will continually redraw the center line both front and back to keep track of the symmetry, weight, balance and movement of the body.


With the bony landmarks in place I begin the process of building up the muscle masses.

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