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Collectable bronze sculptures by Elizabeth Lamarche

Daniel James Yeomans / Creative people  / Collectable bronze sculptures by Elizabeth Lamarche
Elizabeth Lamarche sculpting in the studio

Collectable bronze sculptures by Elizabeth Lamarche

Getting to know Elizabeth Lamarche:

I first met Elizabeth whilst attending the Charles Cecil studios in Florence 6 years ago.  We studied together, painting portraits, drawing the figure.  Immersing ourselves, along with the other students in all that Florence has to offer.  It really is a unique experience that provides each artist with their own differing influences and experiences.  Each artist then takes their own path onward.  Sissi, therefore is not only making amazing bronze sculptures, but also a great painter.  After her time at the school she went on to produce some fantastic sculptures which I would like to find more information about, and share with you here today.

 

Can you tell us about your artistic background?

 

Since a very young age, I have always been immersed and attracted to art. I was interested in trying everything and testing all kinds of techniques to see which I was best at and which would eventually lead me to the path I wanted to take. So, I began studying a foundation course at the Atelier de Sevres, in Paris in 2010-11. During this period, I found myself modifying my natural style to fit in with the contemporary style of the school. This was a very interesting time for me, because I tried to transform my art to please others. I was not authentic, and towards the end of the year, I realised that I wanted to focus on improving my artistic skills and knowledge rather than trying to fit with other people’s idea of what art should be.

 

Elizabeth Lamarche

 

I moved to London’s Heatherly Art School in 2012, which enabled me to reconnect with my own style through experimentation with ceramics, watercolours and sculpture. In 2013, I headed North, to Scotland to work for renowned sculptor and glass engraver Bruce Walker, who was a key figure in my training as an artist. He taught me how to do glass engraving as well as stone carving, and during this period I spent a lot of time discussing art and ideas with him. Being showed me how to structure my days and what hard work meant – work tirelessly, often from the wee hours to past midnight!  Bruce was an incredible mentor to me because he genuinely wanted to share his knowledge and wanted the best possible success for me.

Florence:

After that, I spent 3 years at Charles Cecil Studios.  I remember learning to paint and draw portraits all over again, using the sight-size method. This technique, through concentration and perseverance, trained my eyes and improved my art. I have wonderful memories of training at this school and loved working with so many talented and budding artists. Whilst there, Dan and I were partnered for a few portraits  (examples of what we were doing in Florence)- discussing ideas, learning and motivating each other was a great collaborative experience as so often an artistic career can be quite solitary.

 

From 2015 to 2017, I worked at the Galleria Romanelli under the talented Raffaello and Vincenzo Romanelli. This experience sculpting at the Galleria led me to discover my true passion! Raffa taught me the whole process of creating a sculpture – from seeing shapes to sculpting, making moulds to scrutinising the final bronze sculptures. Whilst Vincenzo was a wildlife and animal enthusiast, his techniques inspired me to focus on creating animal sculptures as his realisation process was unique and inspiring.
 

During your studies as a painter you are constantly observing the figure.  Did this help you with the transition  into sculpting or was it a new start in that sense?

 

My training with Charles Cecil most definitely helped with creating sculptures, as I was already familiar with the sight-size method which is also used in sculpture training. However, it was a little bit more challenging than painting as I had to think in 3D rather than 2D – easier said than done.  It was important for me to look at the subject from all perspectives rather than just one viewpoint. I believe it is essential to learn how to draw before you can sculpt as it is an important foundation to have, I still always sketch out my ideas before I pick up my tools.

 

Sissila creating her sculpture

 

Which artists making bronze sculptures are you inspired by the most?

 

Hamish Mackie – I admire his work because he captures the movement and character of his subjects. It really brings them to life, making his work very unique.  Also Calyxte Campe – His raw style is very true to the nature of each animal and there’s something fun and light-hearted in each of his sculptures. Whenever I have spoken to him, I’m impressed by his focus and dedication to each piece.

 

Given that the process of making bronze sculptures is so involved I’m interested to know how long have you been sculpting and during this time, do you know how many you have completed?

 

I have been sculpting for 5 years and whilst there have been many experimental sculptures along the way, I have created 19 sculptures altogether. In the interim I have also created a variety of other pieces including a selection of silk scarves, animal prints and glass engravings, some of which can be seen on my Sissila website. My sculptures vary in size from a 70kg Orangutan to a tiny sleeping mouse that fits into the palm of your hand.

 

I enjoy following your work online  and see that you recently made a bronze sculpture that also doubles as a table. Could you tell us about this project, and is this new direction for your work?

 

This project was very exciting, as I realised that sculptures can also be utilitarian and do not necessarily have to standalone. It’s rewarding to see these types of installations in my clients’ homes.  They can create such a special atmosphere, as well as an excellent talking point. After all, furniture can be art! It has an important presence in the room and I would love to continue with this concept in the future!

 

Would you like to walk us through the process of creating your sculpted bronze Octopus?

 

Stage 1:

All bronze sculptures share the same path of creation. After doing a number of sketches I spend a lot of time drawing different positions and researching about Octopuses and their anatomy. I wanted to know my subject before starting as I wanted the sculpture to give the impression of fluidity. My aim was to create a mature octopus coffee table. So I had to be very clear with the positioning of arms and body measurements.

Stage 2:

I went to visit my neighbour and friend Henry, an awesome welder who taught me everything about welding. We began by cutting metal rods to size, to match my measurements for the arms. Afterwhich, we bent and twisted the rods to create the fluidity I was looking for. For me, the structure needs to be extremely precise so I spent a full week making sure it was perfect and able to hold the weight of the clay. This is the most important process to get right because you won’t be able to change it later on.

 

Stage 3:

I then put a first layer of clay on the metal to create my ideal structure. Once I was satisfied with that, I began adding all the detail and expression. I designed four legs to be perfectly level in order to support a glass ‘coffee table’ top.

Stage 4:

Upon finishing the piece, it was a race to the foundry in Edinburgh.  We needed to capture the shape before the clay started cracking. It is very complex to make such a mold and the team at the foundry did an excellent job.  It was like putting pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together.

Stage 5:

The mold was created by painting layers of liquid silicon onto the sculpture, then adding silicone rubber with a system of keys which allowed the mold to interlock with the separate parts.The mold was finished by building an external skeleton around the silicon, out of plaster which hardens and holds the mold in place.

 

Stage 6:

Removing the Clay:

Stage 7:

Once this had been created, the original sculpture in clay was no longer needed and was removed.

Stage 8:

The next process was to pour hot wax evenly into the mold. The wax version was then taken out of the mold and retouched to remove all imperfections before the bronze casting.

Stage 9:

After this process, the foundry encased the wax version in a hard shell. The shell was placed into an oven where the melted bronze is poured evenly melting away the wax version.

Unveiling the bronze sculpture:

Once the piece cooled down, using mallets and chisels the hard shell was removed and the sculpture revealed.

Final stage:

The bronze sculpture was then sandblasted and assembled together through welding and other refining processes. Then it was time to start creating the patina, using chemicals and pigments with a wax finishing.

Watching the foundry professionals at work is like watching the creation of art in its own right. To acknowledge the effort required to produce my Octopus I made only a limited edition of 9 bronzes.  Each edition is cast upon request and I only keep 1 in stock for exhibitions.

 

Sissila Bronze octopus table

 

Finally a big thank you for sharing your experiences and beautiful bronze sculptures with us!  If people would like to see and collect your work where is the best place to go?

 

In 2016, I set up my own company and website Sissila.com which features my wildlife sculptures and other artworks.  Since then, I have exhibited around Europe and continue to sculpt pieces inspired by the natural world we live in.  All my sculptures created in bronze are made at two principal foundries based in Italy and Edinburgh.

 

I currently have a few bronze sculptures currently exhibited in Artumes & co in Paris. Do feel free to get in touch or you can browse all the works at my website.

Bronzes by Sissila

www.sissila.com
@sissila_official

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