Ken the chameleon

Last year I bought a book about the Welsh artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins, whose work I had seen some time ago at the Museum of Modern Art in Machynlleth, Wales. I loved the work then and the book is magnificent too.

My daughter became a fan of Clive’s and started to read his blog and correspond with him. He is a lovely chap, and is running a maquette exhibition on his blog starting this week. He makes maquettes as part of his approach to constructing some of his works, and also because he enjoys making them. In this scenario I believe the main approach is that the maquette is a jointed figure, and rather than being the preliminary preparatory scale model, is a piece of work within itself. The range of work should be interesting.

This has reminded me of  a Christopher Le Brun exhibition I saw where I enjoyed his room of maquettes as much as his finished work, and that has stayed with me.

Chloe was pestering me to make one, so at the last minute I have. I felt a little guilty as it took up more time of course than I should have allowed, as I have some work hanging on that must be finished [but isn’t there always?] but once I got to the articulation stage I was hooked and decided this was proper work. He’s not a scale model though, as the whole is about a metre long.

It’s made from paper, card, and printed material left over from my ongoing Li Carpet piece of work. He has some stitch and bright green beads added too. The moth is a left over from The Moth Pages. I may decide she’s a butterfly so I can call her Barbie. So, recycling too.

Here he is. It’s reminded me how much I would like to do some stop motion animation too; obviously I have been affected by all those years of watching Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine.

I took the design from one of my linocuts and drew it out again as I wanted it larger.

Then I cut it out from heavy weight watercolour paper.

Here he is mostly finished; the background will need more stitch work.

And here is his articulation in action.

His eye moves round too, although I forgot to move it for his photoshoot;  it’s all such fun…

Clive’s blog is

3 thoughts on “Ken the chameleon

  1. Steph, when I first found your blog it was a mention of Clive’s work that set me off on a trip to Aberystwyth to see his retrospective. I then got hooked on the blog and buying the book followed. I love the maquettes but it is his toy theatres that really draw me in. Such a fascinating man and so generous with his knowledge and praise. I’ve steered clear of the maquette idea because I don’t want to get absorbed by something else and I think your post has just highlighted this possibility, but Ken the chameleon is a tour de force and really works. Is this the start of something I ask myself?

    1. Thanks Lorraine!
      I would love to do more of this sort of thing Lesley, I may squeeze the odd one in between textile projects. I am continually drawn to illustrative work, so mixed media articulated illustration may be the way to go in the future…I think Clive has started to put the maquettes on his blog now, so I’m off to have a look.

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