Archive for SCULPTURE

Weaver of webs Louise Borgeois

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, SCULPTURE with tags , , , on June 2, 2010 by echostains

Last week I wrote about French-born American Abstract expressionist sculptor Louise Bourgeois and featured her Mamam in my post about the Tate Modern.   She is very well-known for her gigantic spiders:_

The Spider is an ode to my mother,” Louise Bourgeois once said. “She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver… Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences… spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.”

louise_bourgeois eye to eye 1970

 Sadly, Bourgeois died at the age of 98 on Monday. I find it amazing that this tiny woman was so prolific and still working at nearly 100 years of age!  She was born in Paris in 1911 to tapestry restorers and when she later moved to New York, she found the art scene was totally dominated by men.  Her husband was critic Robert Goldwater.


Hers was a passionate personality, she was filled with darkness, outrage and anger over her father’s affair with her governess.  She translated these emotions into her art.  Bourgeois became famous and popular when she was in her 70’s when she had her first major exhibition.

Her work is not to everyone’s taste, and some have found it disturbing, but I find it dark interesting with many layers.  Through her work she translates childhood trauma and sexuality.   Her art is always linked with the past and very emotional.   In this short film she says that her emotions are inappropriate to her size – that they are her ‘demons’.  Her demons have turned out to be her lifetimes work and she has made a major contribution to sculpture as a media.

Arch of hysteria

 There is a lovely obituary in the Telegraph

There is a lovely article about her here and many videos about her work on YouTube

Maman image from here, Louise Bourgeois pic from here arch of hysteria here

Where do I go? Down the River of course!

Posted in ART, Echostains Blog Spotlight, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2010 by echostains


Billy Childish is just one of the artists featured on my blog

Billy Childish is just one of the artists featured on my blog


Anyone who already reads my blog will find it an eclectic mix of mostly art’s based media.  I have many interests, which I haven’t even put into my blog.  – music for example.  That would take up a whole other blog.  But where do I go to in Blogland when I want to get away from it all and have a good time? If you look at my Blog roll you will see at a glance.  But why do I go to these blogs?   Why do I like them?  What do I get from them? 


Echostains Blog Spotlight

Echostains Blog Spotlight


 As hinted at a few weeks ago, I shall be spotlighting these blogs every now and again by interviewing their owners (if they are willing, there’s no obligation).  If you have been reading my blog regularly you will know that I don’t accept awards.  I’ve nothing against them – I am rewarded by people who take the time to read my blog daily and thoughtfully comment.  The Echostains Blog Spotlight is the nearest I get to giving an award.  I hope that you will enjoy these blogs as much as I do! 

The first spotlight is on Albertus from artistatexit0  I can’t remember how I stumbled upon this blog – but I’m so glad I did!  The link was through assemblage and artists who work with assembling objects.  However, Al’s work is much more than this.  I like to go there to see what he has been up to on the River – what he has found and more importantly – what he has done with them.  His scuptures are unusual and ephemeral – here today and gone tomorrow, washed away by the river.  They are born from the river – and they die by the river.   Luckily for us, he has documented their existance with a fantastic photo collection!
1.  Why is your blog thus entitled?

My blog derives its title from the literal highway exit number that I use to arrive at the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana which is across from my home in Louisville, Kentucky.  I also like its existential overtones and it sounds slightly absurd to me.


Ohio River map

Ohio River map


 2.  What is your blog about and what information do you hope to get across?

After one year, I’m still discovering what the riverblog is all about through this sense for place.  Generally, it concerns itself with creativity and the natural environment of which we are a part.  I believe that art has survival value in life (see Ellen Dissanayake) and I feel by rediscovering our own innate creativity in all its forms that we can reconnect to the planet that sustains us.  This blog is my own story and attempt to forge this reconciliation.


 3. Whats the most exciting thing you have found in the river – and why?

Personally, the most exciting “thing” I have found in the river is myself!  I know this sounds odd and perhaps egotistical, but the discovery was a renewed sense of my purpose and role as an artist in this context.  To further affirm this, I once found a sign fragment that literally had my name on it.  I entitled that artifact, “I Found Al by the Side of the River” and its still one of my prize possessions.  My son Michael was with me and snapped my photograph at the moment of discovery.  A picture of it is in my “Found Signs and Paintings Collection”.

(You knew then that you were indeed in sinc with that river:)  I shall check that pic out!)



 4. How did your fascination start with the river and its contents?

I have been lucky to have lived near bodies of fresh water.  For me, the Ohio River was already in my proverbial back yard.  My art has been informed by both natural and cultural history.  Our material culture deposited in the river represents the journey we all take through life.  I also drink this water.

 5. Why did you start your blog?

I had been looking for a format that allowed me to provide a better relational sense for what I’m experimenting with at the river.  Through the blog, I can use whatever talents I have with words and images to talk about art in the context of life.  I now view weblogs as a medium in their own right.  Putting my art on the web helped to relieve it from the isolation of the gallery.  I also have a passion for this sense of place that is the Falls of the Ohio that I wanted to share with a wider world.



polystyrenus-with-fish. image courtesy of


 6. What would you most like to find in the river and why?

What I would like most to find is no trash in the water.  Should this condition occur, I would then feel that our species is evolving and placing a priority on aesthetic issues like clean water which truly enhances life in the most meaningful way.  I also would like to find an artifact that proves Prince Madoc was here just to say that recorded history isn’t all its cracked up to be.

(lol! but a lovely sentiment Al)

 7. Whats’ your best adventure concerning the river?

There are simply too many to list.  I do recall, however, an early incident in the park that felt transcendental like the “St. Francis in Ecstasy” by Giovanni Bellini in the Frick Collection of New York.  I was hiking on the ancient fossil beds during the heat of summer and I was looking towards the skyline of a contemporary city and feeling a sublime sense for being located at this particular space and time.  When I looked at my hands I was lacking stigmata and more than likely was suffering from some slight dehydration! 

 8. If you could advertise your blog on a billboard – what would it say?

Usually, I’m not fond of billboards.  We already live in a wilderness of signs.


Louisville from the Falls,  image courtesy of http://artistatexit0.wordpress

Louisville from the Falls, image courtesy of http://artistatexit0.wordpress


 9.  Anything exciting planned for the future of your blog?

I have a lot of unpublished content that I could scan and include on the riverblog.  I have been with this project since 2003 and I like the idea of moving back and forth through time in a nonlinear way.  Only I know when these events happened as though that really mattered to most people. Most of my Styrofoam sculptures no longer exist and so these other images are my only surviving documents. I also like the idea of speaking more through an invented character and then there’s also the possibility of embedding video clips.  I   have more Collections pages to add…so there’s much that could still occur whether this qualifies as exciting I leave to you.

(I love these characters!  They are an added bonus!  The video clips would be fantastic, people could get a real sense of the river rushing and share the excitement of your discoveries!!  Hope you go with this!)






image by kind  courtesy of

image by kind courtesy of



10 Why should people visit your blog?

Why indeed?  I hope that most conscientious bloggers ask themselves this question.  I hope people will enjoy what I do because it’s fun, interesting, frequently absurd, and just doesn’t hold a mirror up to the world decrying it, but offers up a little hope for it. You tell me Lynda since you initiated this interview!

(I have Al, it’s at the top:)   Some really interesting answers there – thank you!)



Watch out for more interviews from my Blogrollers:)  Questions shall be tailored towards the blogs subject  matter)

Map from here


Art Discovered and uncovered Berlinde de Bruyckere

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, SCULPTURE with tags , , , on April 26, 2010 by echostains

We are all flesh

This is the start of a new category.   Art discovered and uncovered is about artist who are either famous or unknown.  The only criterion for their inclusion is that I have never come across them before and I find them interesting – I hope you will too.

In Doubt

Berlinde de Bruyckere’s  (b. Ghent 1964) work caught my eye a couple of weeks ago.  Her wax sculptures feature the human figure and it’s humanity and suffering.  The media she uses include wool, wax, hair, wood and iron among many.  The figure is distorted and thereby a bit disturbing.  She explores religious  and mythological aspects which put me in mind of one of my very favorite artists (who I shall get around to when I feel can do him justice)  Francis Bacon.

Bacon study 1953 or screaming pope

In some ways her depictions of flesh resemble meat (also Bacon) who depicted the human condition – and some would argue in an  inhuman way.  I like this work, it intrigues me, some of the figures like are very organic.  I have often thought how some trees resemble figures in their natural posture and sometimes obscene gestures – just  naturally.

There are no screaming heads here (like with Bacon) the artist has left them off.  Her intention is not to shock but to empathise with the figure, to discern the humanness in its anguish.  She handpaints layers of wax to make up this very realistic flesh that looks bruised and vulnerable.


In ‘The Black Horse, the artist covers her casts of the horses bodies with skins and poses them.  this makes them uncomfortably realistic strangely vulnerable and tactile. I will definitely go to see one of her exhibitions if I get the opportunity!

The artist at the Saachi Gallery here

More information about this artist here

lots of info about this artist here

More of her sculpture here

‘We are all Flesh from here

Tiny Worlds between heartbeats

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN, SCULPTURE with tags , , , on April 7, 2010 by echostains

Peter Pan

A gruelling week begins.  Courses to go on.  Course which take up most of the day.  After the course, which will end around 8PM, I shall be off with my husband for a bite to eat and a few drinks.  So if the posts for the next few days are rather short – that’s the reason why 🙂

Ron Mueck 'mask'

There’s some clever people around (just look at those women in art films).  Most of them of course come on my blog 🙂   We’ve looked at large sculptures by artists like Ron Mueck, whose work is disconcertingly colossal.  But there are what is known as ‘Micro sculptors.  Willard Wigan is one of them.  His teeny sculptures like the ones done  in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin are absolutely amazing!  Some can’t even be seen with the naked eye.

Willard Wigan

The artist paints  his sculpture with the hair of a dead fly!!  He has also used his own eyelash.  What patience and what a steady hand he must have!  Born in 1957 Birmingham UK, Wigan struggled at school and diverted himself by making miniscule art.

“It began when I was five years old,” says Willard. “I started making houses for ants because I thought they needed somewhere to live. Then I made them shoes and hats. It was a fantasy world I escaped to where my dyslexia didn’t hold me back and my teachers couldn’t criticise me. That’s how my career as a micro-sculptor began.”

ship in a pinhead

Wigan’s art has been referred to as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ – and it’s no wonder really.  He has to put himself into a meditative state in order sculpt these tiny works of art, and works between pulse beats to avoid hand tremors.

statue of Liberty Willard Wigan

The artist has been approached by a film company to make a film of his life story.   I for one would love to watch this!  He  has received an MBE from Prince Charles for his contribution to art.  this short video shows Wigan’s tribute to President Obama:_

Willard Wigan’s website HERE

There are lots of videos about this interesting artist on YouTube here

Art has got it Taped!

Posted in ART, DESIGN with tags , , , , on April 3, 2010 by echostains

Jimi Hendrix by Iri5

There’s a lot you can do with broken cassette tape – or even unbroken cassette tape.  Iri5 has made some incredible cassette portraits out of using this material.  Her Jimi Hendrix is really something and there’s more of her work HERE The image is from her collection called ‘Ghost in the machine’ – great name eh!


Brian Dettmer Ram

Yet another way of using cassette tape including their cases is through the medium of sculpture.  Artist Brian Dettmer has molded this material into animal, birds and skeletal form.  He uses no glue, using his own unique formula which remains secret.  I really like the quality of the melted cassette case – like bone which has been polished!

Sonic Fabric Neckties

Cassette tape is also lending its qualities to design.  These neckties are made from 50% recorded tape and 50% coloured thread.  Incredibly – the tape can actually be listened to by running the tape  through the cassette head of a Walkman!  Read more about it here

Brian Dettmer’s website with lots more of his work here including skeletons!

There’s a wonderful interview with the artist iri5 (Erika Iris Simmons) here

And so castles made of sand……

Posted in DESIGN, SCULPTURE, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , on March 1, 2010 by echostains

slumbering sand


…..fall  in the sea – eventually (Jimi Hendrix).   I think that you would need more than a small bucket and spade to make these fabulous sand sculptures.  Like the ice sculptures which I featured the other week, I like the non permanency of these.  Here today – gone tomorrow.  Not everything is made to last forever – apart from us (check out those bog people)  but I digress. …

The wizard of Oz

Oh Mr Sandman bring me a dream…… more sand sculptures here.  Follow the Yellow brick road  – this must have taken ages and tons of sand to build.

sand dragon

I love this amazing dragon!  The detail is astonishing, every little scale picked out in sand.  How the artist has managed to sculpt the bones of the skeleton is beyond me.  Lots of artistry as well as patience.  The skeleton link here

a dead pirate perhaps that Davy Jones has thrown up


Apparently, the sand has to be of the right texture and has to have the right ratio (eight parts dry sand to one part water according to BBC’s Coast).  Some artist use shovels, others, their hands.  Purists don’t use any ‘framework’ beneath their sculpture.

Don’t hide your head in the sand….if it’s that big, it shall be spotted,,

In competitions though it is often a rule that the finished work be sprayed with a stabilising coating which will preserve the sculpture for months.

All the Christmas’s have come at once!

Finally, I couldn’t resist the sand-sculptures of  Sudarshan Patnaik  who made 100 Santa’s out of from 1000 tons of sand.  He is also in the Guinness Book of records for building the largest sand sculpture of Santa – he really does believe in Father Christmas

Western Super Mare, Somerset BeachLawns Sculptures are on display now  

Melt in the mouth sculpture

Posted in ART, DESIGN, SCULPTURE with tags , , , on February 22, 2010 by echostains


Yak Butter sculpture inside Labrang monastery


Sculptures come in all forms of media, not just stone wood and metal.  In Thailand, sculpting edible foodstuffs is an art form and enhances the table.  Butter sculpture is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist tradition, used to celebrate  religious ceremonies and  the Tibetan New Year.  In North america it goes back to the 19th century and  is mostly used at agricultural fairs.    Lots of further information HERE

Farm Life sculpture by Jim Victor


Sculptor Jim Victor for example, as well as sculpting with traditional materials, has used  butter to create ‘Farm Life’.  He seems to like dairy because he has also used cheese and even chocolate for his sculptures – see the result HERE

farmlife butter sculpture by Jim Victor


It must be hard to work with the soft consistency of butter or cheese.   A certain temperature must have to be obtained surely?  Also, I would conditions would have to be right to display these delicate objects.

Shawn Bowman butter Marilyn


Sarah Kaufmann, known as the Cheese lady can use several thousand pounds of cheese when she is doing one of her gigantic pieces!  Lots of her work HERE

pfister artistc celebrations by Sarah Kaufmann


WatchTroy Landwehr create the Statue of Liberty from cheese!  It took him four days and a LOT of cheese – incredible!   See it being made HERE (sorry, but all I could get was the video link)

Oarmesan cheese with pizza dough for sails, roasted red peppers for the crosses and spaghetti


But what about the waste?  Well here’s a film about what they can do with sculpture once it’s outlived its use – make  sustainable fuel!  What a great idea eh  Everyone can enjoy the sculpture and it can be recycled!

Labsanf Monestry pic courtesy of here

Parmesan cheese ship HERE

‘Happy Birthday Barbara Hepworth!’

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , on January 9, 2010 by echostains

barbara hepworth in later years

Today is the birthday of probably the  world’s most famous sculptress Barbara Hepworth (b.1903 – 1975 Yorkshire U.K. ).  Hepworth made a significant contribution to the media  of sculpture throughout her career.  Her work defines Modernism.  She was honoured with a Damehood in 1965, 10 years before her death.


Pierced form 1932 pink alabaster sadly destroyed in the War

A contemporary of Henry Moore, her early work was organic in form.  In 1930 her work became more abstract (as opposed to representational) and in 1931 the artist  achieved acclaim in Britain for her piercing of the form in sculpture (Pierced Form 1931, alabaster).  Other sculptors were to follow suit including Moore.  Later her work became more and more hollowed out and punctured. She also explored other mediums to work in beside alabaster and stone – like wood.  She married abstract artist Ben Nicholson (her second husband) in 1932 and moved to their St Ives home after the War. 

hepworth wooden pierced form

Hepworth joined the Unit One group  in 1933 with Henry Moore and Paul Nash.  This is what she wrote in the introduction to her book ‘Unit One’;-

“I do not want to make a stone horse that is trying to and cannot smell the air. How lovely is the horse’s sensitive nose, the dog’s moving ears and deep eyes; but to me these are not stone forms and the love of them and the emotion can only be expressed in more abstract terms. I do not want to make a machine which cannot fulfil its essential purpose; but to make exactly the right relation of masses, a living thing in stone, to express my awareness and thought of these things … In the contemplation of Nature we are perpetually renewed, our sense of mystery and our imagination is kept alive, and rightly understood, it gives us the power to project into a plastic medium some universal or abstract vision of beauty.”

What a wonderful quote that it is: it gives us  an insight to Hepworth’s oeuvre.  The passion  and belief of the artist shows throughout her work.




Barbara Hepworth  died in  a fire at her home in  St Ives, Cornwall in 1975.   This is now a Museum dedicated to the artist.  We went to visit  a while ago and this post has some of the pictures we took.  There is not much to see in the house – not much atmosphere, but the gardens are full of Hepworth.  Her indoor studio, with aprons hanging from the door serve as a poignant reminder of this special artist, whilst the many sculptures in the gardens provide unexpected vistas of delight.  This place is truly beautiful.  Please visit if you are in St Ives, you will not be disappointed!

Barbara Hepworth Museum

I celebrate more artist’s birthdays HERE