This week is #RedSquirrelWeek!

This week is Red Squirrel Week and so I thought I’d show you some of my Red Squirrel sculptures which help raise funds for red squirrels in the UK, especially here in Cumbria!

Let’s start with ‘Hope’. She is a wall mounted sculpture in deep relief, and I’ve sculpted her peeping out from a hole in a pine tree. Hope is a limited edition of 150 pieces with two thirds of the edition already sold, and she is hand cast and then painted by two local companies which are within 25 miles of my studio.

Red squirrel sculpture

‘Hope’ – Red Squirrel wall sculpture

 

 

There are still Red Squirrels here in Cumbria, and so with every squirrel sculpture sale I make, I donate a percentage of my profits to red squirrel conservation projects in the UK. This includes the charity, ‘Brampton & District Red Squirrel Group’, of which I am one of the founders, a trustee, the treasurer and a volunteer.

My first two Red Squirrel sculptures; Charles and Willow, have now both completely sold out, however, George (a squirrel kitten) and his sibling Rowan are still available, both in cold-cast copper and in hand painted resin.

Please visit my JustKirstySculpture Etsy shop (via the MY SHOP tab above or the link below) or get in touch via email at kirsty@justkirsty.com for more information.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JustKirstySculpture

Red squirrel sculpture

George -Red Squirrel kitten sculpture

Red squirrel sculpture

Rowan -Red Squirrel sculpture

 

A new Hare sculpture…

Recently, I’ve busy making up orders and producing work for various galleries, but this week I’ve finally started on a new Hare sculpture!

As a ‘one-man-band’, I can go for months spending time on ‘reproducing’ my work to sell and so when I can find a window of time to actually ‘sculpt’ something new, like this Hare, and get wax beneath my finger nails again and get my brain focused on designing…it’s a wonderful feeling and time flies!

New Hare sculpture

Hare sculpture maquette

I’ve intended to sculpt a life-sized Hare for a year or more, and so this week after getting all my current orders completed, I made a start on the ‘maquette’. This is a quick 3D sketch in wax, all in proportion but with minimum detail, and its purpose is to work out the composition of a piece before working up the full sized piece.

Working from reference photographs I spent just an hour and a half on this 4″ high study. My aim is to have the Hare looking at the viewer and to position it in such a way as to make it visually pleasing in terms of its shapes and lines, from all angles. I’ve also always liked to show the underneath of the paw when I sculpt animals, and the lifted front leg adds interest to the composition. I tend to also like the body to follow a graceful ‘S-shaped’ curve…

I put this little video of the Hare maquette (see below) on my Kirsty Armstrong Sculpture Facebook page a couple of days ago and it has had a very encouraging response, so I think a new Hare sculpture is definitely a good idea!

I've been meaning to sculpt a large Hare for a couple of years, so this afternoon I made this little 4" 'maquette', which is a quick 3D 'sketch' with only a bit of detail, so that I can get the composition right before I sculpt the life-sized version!! Sooo good to get wax under my finger nails again, and to 'sculpt' something new! 😀

Posted by Kirsty Armstrong Sculpture on Tuesday, July 25, 2017

This new Hare sculpture will be sculpted in wax, and once it’s finished it will be moulded by a local company and then produced in cold-cast copper, bronze or pewter. I will receive the limited edition casts back and then polish and finish them by hand. This Hare will be just about life-sized, and so it will be fairly big! It will be in the same style as my red squirrel pieces; life-like, intricately detailed and with my unique stylisation of the texture. More soon…

I’ve been asked to sculpt & produce a lot of ‘AWARDS’ recently…

Gladiator helmet awardsI usually sculpt animals and then produce them as limited or open editions, but recently I’ve been asked to design a few different ‘ awards’…

As a sculptor it’s always exciting to be asked to make something new, and I enjoy the process which starts with an idea, and then opens out to become a challenge to solve a series of interesting problems, before the final piece emerges!

When designing awards for other people it is a slightly different way of working because it doesn’t usually initially start with my idea which I can see in my mind’s eye…I have to be able to ‘see’ what the customer has in their mind and then build on that using my knowledge of techniques and materials, taking into consideration any limitations with the choosen material or perhaps even with the budget they have for their project!

 

The little slide show above shows one of the award projects that I’m working on at the moment. I was asked to make some Gladiator helmet awards for an American company, based on some work I’d made for an event in 2015, but I was asked to make them bigger. The helmet was first sculpted in wax, moulded and then made in cold-cast bronze. The casts were then polished with wire wool and buffed to a sheen with a polishing mop on a bench grinder, and finally waxed (using the lovely British-made Cherry blossom ready wax!).

The supports are made from stainless steel which has been dressed, and the bases are locally cut sandstone which has been sand blasted. The lettering has been painted by hand and picked out in silver enamel.

As I was saying earlier, design projects become a series of problems to solve and one of the problems was finding a suitable ‘escutcheon’ to cover where the steel support goes into the hole which I drilled in the sandstone. I spent a long time fruitlessly trying to source some, so in the end I made them!

Next, these awards will be put together and shipped off to the US, hopefully next week!

I’ve also recently been making numerous awards for a National dog club in America…more about that next…but I’ll have to go and make the dinner first!!

 

 

 

My work for Border Fine Arts & other figurine manufacturing companies…

British Blue Bulll Wax original

In 1995 I was approached by Border Fine Arts; a renowned figurine manufacturing company sited in Langholm on the Scottish border, to sculpt a few small animal pieces. That began a 15 year period of working for them and for County Artists,  both as a freelance sculptor and as a paid employee.

Over the years I sculpted many pieces and especially animals, but I became known for my cattle pieces. I sculpted many of the breed studies of the more well know breeds for Border Fine Arts and my favourite was a limited edition piece of a Charolais bull.

To be able to produce an accurate 3 dimensional piece you firstly need to take photographs of a good example of the breed; the more information you have on your subject, then hopefully, the better your finished piece! This involved me finding local farmers with very good animals to photograph, and who could also then look at the piece throughout the project with their expert eye so that I finally produced a sculpture of the animal they were all striving to breed.

I once visited a farm and was taken by LandRover to a field of Charolais cows with calves at foot, which I was going to photograph. Charolais’ are quite big cattle; about 5 foot to the shoulder and are particularly protective of their young. The farmer told me to leave the vehicular door open, not to look at the animals directly, and to run very fast if they started charging! I’d never met this man before, but I was clinging on to him…as he had a cattle prod!

The things I do for my art…

This is a link to my justkirsty11 Pinterest board and shows a few of the pieces I sculpted for Border Fine Arts and for Country Artists.

https://uk.pinterest.com/justkirsty11/border-fine-arts-country-artists-models-sculpted-b/?sender=439241907315436440&invite_code=7a9a0c5aed72477e991f4bcde5d82f7e

 

 

New Sculpture and several commissions for 2017…

Well, after a very busy and exciting run up to Christmas I thought perhaps the New Year would be rather…quiet, but the first month of 2017 has proved to be just as hectic and I am working on some new Sculpture and several commissions,  especially from America!

Gladiator helmet Sculpture

 

I’ve just finished sculpting the wax original of a Roman Gladiator helmet which will form part of an award destined for the US. This is a larger version of an award I made a couple of years ago, and will be made in cold-cast bronze mounted on a stainless steel column which is set in a sandstone block. Once the wax is moulded locally, hopefully this week, then the bronze casts can be poured and I can then bring all the parts together!

I’ve also been asked to sculpt a Weimaraner head in relief which I’ll be starting tomorrow and the casts of those will form part of another set of trophies and awards which again will be heading for the States!

Yesterday saw a project (which I began two years ago) finally come to fruition! I started sculpting a larger version of my ‘Halcyon Days’ plaque after a customer requested a 14″ diameter one to hang outside. The design is based on the Greek legend of the Halcyon; a kingfisher-like bird, which had the power to calm the waters of the sea around the winter solstice enabling it to build a nest on calm waters and raise its young. The plaque is circular, very detailed and made in fibreglass reinforced cold-cast copper, and is now on its way to Texas! I’ve also produced one in bronze which will be sited in a Manchester hospital garden shortly.
Halcyon Days plaqueHalcyon Days plaqueLast month I finally finished a larger verdigris copper squirrel for a friend. I really enjoyed experimenting with the decoration on this one and will probably make more of them. I’ve also had various commissions from Europe for my Flat coated retriever memory boxes with highly detailed lichen decorated lids, and they are something I want to develop more this year.Red squirrel sculptureFlat coated retriever box

Finally, at the end of January I was approached with the idea of possibly sculpting another cattle piece shortly, which will be very exciting as I haven’t sculpted one since 2009! More on that soon if I’m given the commission…

British Blue Border Fine Arts

 

 

 

A very busy time recently, and now a chance to develop projects for the New Year!

Recently I’ve had a very busy, creative and productive time with record orders and a wide variety of items ordered and produced!  Now that Christmas is behind us I’m taking the chance to get organised and to develop the projects I have in mind for the New year!

The lead up to Christmas was a busy time with long days, and very full weeks, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Below are a few of the pieces I’ve created recently, including unique treasure and jewellery boxes using techniques which I’ve developed over time, various Flatcoated retriever products such as treat tins, lead racks, memory boxes and brooches, Labrador treat tins, tree illustrations, and a new larger version of my Halcyon days plaque; one of which will be installed in a hospital in the New year…

In the New year I also have some trophies to make (hopefully!), a new life size Hare sculpture with an exciting texture, a war memorial ( again, hopefully that will be finalised this year!), and more dog breeds to sculpt and add to my range of  dog related products…a Springer Spaniel is next.

New ‘Love U ‘ Ridge Trees illustrations

Here is a selection of my new ‘Love U’ Ridge Trees illustrations.

I’ve recently created a new series of illustrations using a combination of my photographs and some drawing. I then make water slide decals, or print onto matt photographic paper, and attach the images on to ceramic tile wall plaques, and I also produce cards.

These trees are known locally as the ‘Ridge Trees’ and form part of a stand of impressive Beech trees which are sillouetted against the sky very near to where I live. Whilst walking the dog one day, I thought I could imagine letters formed in the branches…

The first in the series of tree illustrations, which I then went on to produce, included the name ‘Brampton’; the town below these trees, where I live in Cumbria. Next, using a smaller group of Beech further along the Ridge, I photographed and drew the ‘Love U’ edition, then ‘Friends’, and most recently, ‘Alexander’.

As these tree illustrations look very different in different colours, I’ve used computer editoring to produce a variety of different colour schemes. I’ve also been experimenting with layering decals of different designs, including a beautiful ‘Highland lichen’ pattern made from a photograph which I took last year up a mountain in Scotland.

The ‘friends’ tree illustration has the caption underneath; ‘It takes a long time to grow old friends…’ and the word ‘friends’ is growing in the trees. I have also started to add these tree illustrations to wooden treasure and trinket boxes, using a technique which ‘melts’ the decal into the wooden box lid, and I then age the box (to see examples click on ‘MY SHOP’ in the tabs above).

Please click on the individual pictures in the gallery above to see them in more detail.

 

 

Article on my work in Farmland magazine

There is an article about my work in Farmland magazine!

After recently tweeting a photograph of a Southdown sheep, which I sculpted a few years ago for Border Fine Arts, I was contacted by the editor of Farmland magazine asking whether I could write a few words on what I do…and this is the result! http://www.farmlandpress.com/kirsty-armstrong

British Blue Wax

British Blue Wax

'Last to finish' 1996

‘Last to finish’ 1996

British Blue Bull 2009

British Blue Bull 2009

Charolais Bull sculpture

Charolais Bull sculpted for Border Fine Arts

The last ‘Charles’ Red Squirrel sculpture, No.100/100 is being auctioned!

My last remaining ‘Charles’ red squirrel sculpture, No.100/100, is to be auctioned to help Cumbrian Flood victims 

As you may already know, I presented the first ‘Charles’ red squirrel sculpture to HRH Prince Charles at Hutton-in-the-forest in February 2011. The 100 piece limited edition completely sold out eighteen months ago, except for No.100/100…which I had kept

.Kirsty presenting HRH Prince Charles with her Red squirrel sculpture 'Charles'

Photograph courtesy of RSST. It must not be used without permission

Kirsty presenting No.1 of ‘Charles’ to HRH Prince Charles…

Following the devastating floods here in Cumbria during December and January, an art auction has been organised where artists have donated work to be auctioned to raise funds for Cumbrian Community Foundation’s Flood recovery Appeal, which helps individuals and businesses affected by the floods.

The floods affected such a wide area, places I know so well were devastated, infrastructure damaged, businesses and homes destroyed, and even my elderly relatives had to be rescued by boat! As well as the direct impact which the floods had initially, indirectly businesses have been affected as well, my own included! The storm hit just 3 weeks before Chrstmas, the busiest time for a lot of businesses, and the galleries which I, and a lot of other artists, supply were either under water or inaccessible…

Therefore, if you would like the chance to bid for and possibly own the last ‘Charles’…with his royal connections, and help Cumbria to recover, then please click on the link below.

Bids can currently be placed online, for Charles as well as over 100 other works, until Wednesday 11th February 2016, and then until 11pm at the event in Carlisle at the ‘Halston’. Here is the link which will take you to the last ‘Charles’…https://lovecumbria.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/kirsty-armstrong-kenny-charles-2010/     

The limited edition of another of my red squirrel sculptures; ‘Willow’ (mate to Charles), is also almost sold out, with only 10 pieces remaining of the 150 which were made…Please visit MY SHOP in tabs for more information or contact me on the above email.                                        

Love Cumbria Art Auction

My Red Squirrel sculpture, Willow, is ALMOST SOLD OUT!

 

Willow, my second out of the five red squirrel sculptures I’ve produced, is very nearly sold out with only 14 remaining unsold from the strict 150 piece copper limited edition…

If you’d like more information on Willow, or would like to order her before it’s too late, please click on the link below;

https://folksy.com/items/4451500–Limited-edition-life-size-red-squirrel-sculpture-WILLOW-in-cold-cast-copper

'Willow' Red Squirrel sculpture by Kirsty Armstrong

Willow