The giving and recieving of gifts can be a social minefield, particularly, when you've opted to make something from scratch! This Christmas, I decided to do just that for my eldest sister who, despite having a lot of her own troubles to deal with; holds down a part time job in a School, runs an arts and crafts group for patients struggling with brain disorders and still manages to do a lot of work for a local greyhound rescue charity - the GRWE (Greyhound Rescue West of England).
She has two rescue hounds of her own and has fostered many other rescue dogs whilst they await their 'forever homes'. She is also instrumental in raising money via the charity's regular fundraising events, which involves braving all weathers to raise awareness of the plight of the abandoned greyhound. Phew! ...makes me feel like taking a nap just writing about it!
As an artist who specialises in painting, I have been feeling the need to break out of my comfort zone a lot lately, and so, after failing to find the perfect greyhound related gift within a price range reasonable to my pocket, in a flash of inspiration, I decided to make her something that challenged me where I could perhaps pick up a new skill too...a risky strategy given that this 'flash of inspiration' came to me in 2nd week of December!
I am used very much to working in the 2 dimensional format in a fairly traditional figurative style. This is territory I know extremely well that I am very comfortable with, so it had to be something totally different with a tactile element, expressing a gentleness akin to the ethos of the charity and the character of the animal. So, as you may well have guessed by now, I decided to make a sculpture...
There is a definite narrative thread that is intrinsic to all the work I produce, so I decided to give my sculpture an allegorical aspect by introducing the greyhound's natural nemesis, the hare!
All sighthounds, I feel, possess the enigmatic qualities of the feline, the elegance of the equine and the companiable loyalty of the canine all rolled into one, so I chose the more stylised approach of over exaggerating the the neck and limbs to accentuate these qualities. By including the hare and having both 'characters' turning to regard each other, I feel, lends a certain ambiguous tension to the narrative. To further illustrate this, I have called this work 'An Improbable Alliance'.
It was both a challenge and a pleasure to create and am glad I decided to do it as my sister loves it! Thank goodness.
If you are interested in finding out how I created this sculpture, please visit my facebook page and view my picture albums to see a pictorial document of the process.
Thank you for visiting!