Sarah Hendry talks about the heartache & process that went in to making her extraordinary PIMA entry.
I had years of frustration wanting to enter the PIMA competition but lacked the time and energy I felt was needed, I wanted to create something worthy of entering and had been collecting ideas and materials for years.
Then Covid hit, everyone’s lives were turned upside down and things changed considerably. I think we all re-evaluated our lives at this point and it was then I decided to take the time and make the effort to do something I had always wanted to do and enter PIMA. I am not saying this was easy and towards the finish line there were weeks of working night & day with hardly any sleep and my obsession with getting her finished drove me and my poor family slightly mad!
The brief for PIMA was to learn new skills, use imagination and make something never seen before and so I needed to avoid the cute furry animals that I was known for making. I decided to sculpt a freestanding 1:12 figure capturing the look and feel of human skin. I wanted a sinister character with a realistic edge and my original idea was a character of a witch tasting her potion.
I drew a rough sketch to make a 1:12 scale wire armature and applied wax to create the form. The wax is sculpted with dental tools, creating the detail. Once the sculpting process is complete, a mold is produced, enabling a hard form duplication of Greta. The hand was made separately, to help with ease of molding and painting.
Greta was painted with acrylic paint, paying particular attention to the wrinkles, age spots and veins. Greta’s glass eyes, feathered eyelashes, eyebrows and wart hair were adorned along with her jewelry. I used micro drills to pierce her ears and fit the ring on her finger. Her underpants were made from paper, glued on and painted.
As all makers are well aware, things are not always plain sailing and there were upsets on the way. For example, I received an expired batch of silicon rubber and materials and glues were just not doing what I wanted them to do; let’s just say that a good deal of my time making Greta was an experiment, which I guess was part of the brief – to try new things!
When it came to the design of the witch’s outfit, I realised I was covering up too much of her skin, which was the main feature of the model but I did not want Greta naked either! A more revealing nighty or slip was considered but this was not a witch’s outfit and Greta’s fixed pose made it a real challenge to make the clothes removable.
As a result of this dilemma, a faceted character that could adapt from one posed action to another, whilst being fixed as a figure in the main and making sense in every stage of dress or undress was the way forward. This would surely make her more versatile so that Greta would suit perhaps a wider customer base.
I tried and tested various ideas to find and make accessories that could change Greta’s action. For example I created clip on wigs and made a removable nighty secured with buttons, which were pins that double up as warts when she is naked!
Simply by changing her hair and an accessory her narrative completely changes to suit the author.
This fictitious character of an old lady evolved and she eventually needed a name. People at the show kept asking me, “Who is Mrs. Greta Boyd?” Well, I picked her first name and surname from a list of old fashioned names that I Googled – I wish I had a more interesting tale to tell but the truth is, that is how ‘Mrs. Greta Boyd’ was born.
Since winning the PIMA competition, Greta has gone to a wonderful owner in Canada who I’m sure will know just what to do with her and I cannot wait to see the final result!
I absolutely loved the freedom I had in making her and I think if you say to yourself you are doing this project for you, to learn and grow creatively then it will always be time well spent.
The 2022 Perfection in Miniature Awards will be taking place at the KDF Summer Show on May 13th & 14th. All entries will be view in the PIMA Showcase.