Dance of a Childhood Remembered

   by Whitney Edwards for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: Little Dancer of Fourteen Years

Inspiration Artist: Edgar Degas

I started out by first making an armature out of the steel wire and wooden dowels. The dowels were what I wrapped the wire around. They were held in place by a small amount of glue. Once that was completed I stuffed it with shredded newsprint. Using equal amounts of glue and water I created a gesso to harden the newsprint and create a mold for my sculpture. Using the Chavant modeling clay I began to make my sculpture. I followed a basic thumbnail drawing that I had drawn out for reference. Placing the sculpture in the freezer in between working on it. Using the Sculpey polymer clay I added details to her ballet shoes. The floral foam block was used during sculpting so that she would remain standing at all times. I used a sponge and Q-tip to smooth out the clay and a plastic molding tool to help create the hair details. The hair was created by cutting V shapped sections out of the block of clay, smoothing them out and then attaching coils to them. She should have a look of being in motion, hair moving, leg kicked up, she is dancing. Using tiny coils of clay I made the lips, and eyebrows. Using a pencil I made an indention where the eyes should be. Then rolling out two equal balls of clay I attached them inside of the eye socket that was created. Then I gave the eyes details. To create a base for the sculpture I sanded the wood and then sprayed it with a polyurethane, using a drill I made a hole in the center of the largest block of wood. The sculpture was spray painted with bronze spray paint so that the pieces will tie in together. To make her outfit I weaved the Shredded Newsprint together to create a top. I sealed the edges with a little bit of glue. The Canvas cloth was used to create the skirt. I cut the canvas into petal shapes and folded them in half. I then glued them end to end. This created a circle skirt that I wrapped around my dancers waste. To make it poof out I used a small amount of newspaper rolled into a ball and attached it between the skirt and sculpture.

I was inspired by the Degas sculpture and wanted mine to show her grown up, still trying to relive her youth, maybe a little bit heavier, showing her age a little bit, but she still has dreams of being a famous dancer.