Barbara Hepworth (1903 - 75) is one of my favourite sculptors, which may sound odd to people who see me as a 'traditional' woodcarver. Not all of her work appeals to me but there are many early pieces that have a beauty of line and purity of a surface; a simplicity and self-containment of form; a balance of space and mass that move me and echo the qualities I hope to bring to my own work.
I'll put more of my thoughts in the download (below) but, for now: I thought making a simple sculpture in her style, echoing the qualities that I have just mentioned, would be a fun project to share with you.
If you've never carved a piece of sculpture like this before, I'd encourage you to have a go. Barbara Hepworth was a champion of 'direct carving', an approach I also follow, where the tools and act of carving itself suggest and convey the outcome, and the carver responds to the wood - almost like a dance.
Not into 'modern art'? You don't have to be. Just remember that the end product doesn't 'mean' anything, in the same way that daffodil doesn't 'mean' anything. It's not a thinking piece or meant in anyway to be representational. It's more about how do you feel when you see and touch it. If successful, it's just a thing of beauty to have around. And a joy to have made.
As always, I'm taking the sculpture step by step. In this workshop we look at our wood and how I'm going to hold it.
I also make a small maquette - a small model carved in a softer wood that brings together some of my initial ideas and starts me off in the right direction.
Important! If you make a sculpture in this style you need to include 'after Hepworth' in the title, especially if you display it publicly. You must acknowledge, as I do, where your inspiration comes from; it's by far the most important element of the work.
Download: Thoughts about Hepworth and her sculpture; why I'm using hand tools and not power, and 'direct carving'. Also wood and tools etc.