Where do you begin with a once human who was turned into an orang-utan by a magical accident? His face. Always start with the face. A few hours of smudging and smearing around a couple of ball bearings for eyes and his presence was felt. That wise, knowing look glared back at me from the back of an old CD case. It felt like I was on to something. This should be easy!
Little did I know that the Librarian would be the most complex and testing piece of sculpture that I had undertaken to date. My previous sculpture of The Death of Rats flowed gothic -like, while the Luggage grinned at you with his many curves and angles. So how could I combine the styles to keep things fluid and make him look authentic? It took many attempts to get his pose correct (moving lumps of wax for limbs to various positions), but when the bulked rough of a book was placed between his feet, everything fell into place.
The book was especially tricky. Sculpting something that intricate and small with fingers the size of a large portion of Dibbler’s sausages was a tough one, but I managed it, and gently placed it in the correct position – accompanied with a couple of pages of copy for good measure – ready for his arms and feet to be sculpted and attached to it. Then came his hair. Long strands of individual hair, hanging off his inner-tube arms and orange sized body. Add some fingers, toes, banana and a chain, a few wrinkles, give everything a final smooth down with lighter fluid and there he was, Ooking at me.
As I said, this piece took some serious doing. But it is without doubt, one of my all time favourites. The way his hand holds his chin while those dark old eyes stare at you, just makes it for me. You can almost hear him thinking. And, if you look really closely, a sculptor’s name is just and just eligible on a page of the book. Thankfully, it isn’t involved with anything too heavily spell related, as I can still type while in the form of a newt.”