The creation of a monumental sculpture – Week 1

My most recent sculpture of Icarus is the largest piece that I have ever created. I have been working on it for 8 months and it has reached a stage where I am now ready for him to be cast into bronze. It has been a long journey and I want to show you how I got there.

The creation of a monumental sculpture

It was always my intention to make this sculpture at least 5 metres tall and as a result I knew that I could not build it in my own studio at home. Sculpture Castings in Basingstoke, , very kindly agreed that I could create the piece at their foundry. Luckily, they had an area that I could use.


There is a lot of work to do before I can start to think about working with clay. The first thing I had to do was to ask the foundry to build me an armature. An armature is a metal frame that is used to support the figure being modelled and provides something for the clay to attach to. Given the size required it took them 4 days to finish it. I couldn’t start work on the sculpture until they had completed their work.

Day 1

The size of the sculpture would mean that it was going to be extremely heavy and would therefore require a large solid base and a strong central support. This was completed on the first day.

Monumental sculpture Day 1

Day 2

The metal structure for the figure was completed and wrapped in chicken wire to give the clay something to attach to.

Monumental sculpture Day 2

Day 3

The metal supports for the wings were put in place.

Monumental sculpture Day 3

Day 4

Polystyrene was added to the armature to bulk up the figure. The clay goes on top of the polystyrene.

Monumental sculpture Day 4

Day 5

I finally got involved and started to put clay on the armature.

Monumental sculpture Day 5