(The lump of clay inside the mouth is only there to hold up the roof while it dries and will be removed afterwards.)
While watching, ‘Day of the Triffids’, which I previously discussed in week 8, the shape of the Triffids reminded me of a ‘Pitcher plant’, a species consisting of several carnivorous plants possessing modified leaves known as pitfall traps—a prey-trapping mechanism featuring a deep cavity filled with digestive liquid.
This acknowledgement led me to sketch out the concept pictured above in which the opening of the plant would resemble a human mouth with teeth and a tongue. I was unsure about the sketch for a moment, but after showing it to my flatmate Ben who is one of the people I’ve set as my target audience, and confirming he liked the concept, of which he said it reminded him of “Plants vs Zombies”, I cleared myself to continue onto the sculpture.
This would be considered my most costly sculpture from this series, consisting of just over a block of clay, costing me around £7. I also found myself facing a lot more difficulty with this piece in comparison to my older ones as I was using a new brand of clay, which didn’t handle constantly working well, cracking easily and failing to mould together without multiple goes, therefore, I was forced to work with speed and certainty as the unforgiving material meant there was little room for mistakes.
Reflecting on my sketch while sculpting I found what had put me off originally was the complete set of teeth, the space was too cluttered, and so when creating the sculpture I decided t only include the bottom set which I’m a lot happier with.
Overall, despite the struggles I’ve had, this has been one of my favourite pieces to sculpt so far, after the slump I went through last week I believe I’ve now rediscovered my love for this project through this sculpture.
To be specific, one part I seemed to really enjoy sculpting for this piece was the teeth, I loved the simple movements and the final result of them, which leads us to the next sculpture:
Coming up with the look for this next sculpture was incredibly difficult the only thought I had is that I wanted teeth to be the main centre point for the inclusion of the human body, I really struggled to decide the look of the plant or even what plant inspired me at all. In the end, I just googled “Interesting plants” and scrolled until I found this image of what I came to discover is a Clerodendrum Trichotomum Purple Blaze (or the Glory Tree or Glory Bower). Commonly found in the late summer and autumn, this deciduous shrub originates from China and Japan, in which some quarters refer to it as the “peanut butter” shrub due to its aroma.
What drew me to this plant was the prominence of the blue-berries in addition to the striking yet simple appearance of the rest of the plant, ensuring that when replacing the berries with teeth, they wouldn’t be overshadowed by the rest of the plant.
I began with some simple sketches, referencing the original image to get an understanding of the sizing of the teeth in relation to the flower before I began my first sculpture, with the intent to create many more of this flower to display together.
Unfortunately, I didn’t document the process, which I now wish I had as it took me a few goes to get the thickness of the petals right, as when done to thin they broke easily and were difficult to put together and I would have liked to show the process that got me to this point.
I’ve currently placed the sculpture on a stand in a cup to ensure the petals stay in their desired position when drying as you see in the images above.
Originally, I experimented with the idea of attaching the sculptures to a stem, like an image however I quickly abandoned this concept in favour of placing them on some fake grass (e.g: astroturf) along with some different “flowers” after being inspired by the flowers currently conquering the grassy space by my accommodation. I’m currently playing with the idea of having this grassy scene placed directly onto one of the bar tables instead of a pot and having that exist as a centrepiece with the potted plants surrounding it on other tables.
On the topic of the plotted plants as you can see I’ve applied the gloss I mentioned last week. I applied it to the tongue to mimic saliva and the eyeball and nails of the other sculptures to mimic that natural shine.
A final note: when displaying the potted plants at the takeover I intend to include some gardening equipment such as a watering can next to them to fill the space, add to the sculptures and further encourage immersion.