I am going to make a ½ scale wax head bust model of artist and art therapy pioneer, Edith Kramer. She will be sculpted and painted to a realistic quality, hair punched, and dressed in clothing imitation at half scale. She will be displayed on a wooden stand with a plaque giving a brief description of the display for a museum setting. She will be displayed at just below eye level for the average visitor.
The model will be made for a museum audience and will be representational, leaving many open-ended questions for the viewer to explore. It will invite the visitor to engage in a narrative of curiosity and quiet significance that was the professional life of Edith Kramer as a founder of ‘art as therapy’ practise. This will be encouraged by the diminutive size combined with miniscule detail that, like Ron Mueck’s work, draws attention to the model.
The model will be able to be touched by the viewer, similar to the waxwork models in the Madame Tussaud’s museums. It is expected there will be upkeep of the model over time – I discuss conservation of wax figures in an upcoming post.
I will prepare for sculpting the realistic representation by drawing quick, and more detailed sketches first. I will also complete an oil paint study to understand the relationship of colours on her face. To understand the emotional realism I want to portray, I will read Kramer’s books and watch documentaries that she participated in. This combined, will give me an idea of both her physical and professional character, which will aid in creating my three-dimensional representation.
I think it is also important to mention that while planning for this project in early January of this year, I was not aware when the country would be coming out of lockdown, so I experimented with a few ideas on what to do. Therefore, this project has been partly designed to be achievable without complete access to the University workshop. This has meant that I have had to practise creative problem-solving and curiosity, as I adapted the project to a disordered environment. I believe this has strengthened the meaning in the making of my model, as Kramer commonly advocated for a playful attitude to difficult situations and changes, supported by art-making activities.
‘She had transformed a potentially upsetting experience into creative adventure.’Kramer, E. (1971, pg. 84) discussing Lillian who approached a terrifying thunderstorm with a different emotional attitude due to the use of creative activities.