Readers of Mosaic & Glass voted Corinna Barrell’s King of the River the winner of the competition in Issue 1. Congratulations Corinna! She plans to use the £200 prize money to buy a new pair of walking sandals for heron stalking. Here, she writes about the inspirations and processes behind her piece.
BY CORINNA BARRELL
Iam very lucky to live in rural south Devon with my boyfriend and two dogs, and I spend many hours exploring the rivers, estuaries and coastlines of this area. The beady-eyed heron is a regular sighting and I knew that one day I’d like to try to make a mosaic one. I started by cutting the body shape in wedi board, bolting the metal rebar legs in place. They were welded by my ever-helpful neighbour.
Then I began the messy part of carving polystyrene blocks to sculpt a 3D form. I tend to do this in the empty bath as the balls stick to the sides and it seems to contain the mess better. Once I was happy with the shape, I sandwiched it together on the wedi board form. I then covered it in several layers of BAL Admix and several further layers of BAL Flex Fibre Plus. (Tamara Froud kindly shared her tips of successful poly sculpting with me.)
The beak was moulded from milliput epoxy resin and I added taxidermy eyes before starting to create feathers shaped from recycled china. As I laid these in place, working from the head down, I wracked my brains for what to use for the black-head crest and feathered chest. My puppy, who chews anything, literally brought the idea into the studio – a plastic plant pot! I cut thin slithers and adhered them in place; a nightmare to grout around but worth it for the effect.
Once finished, I took the heron back down to the River Dart for a photoshoot by one of the beautiful 15th century stone bridges still in constant use today. King of the River is on display throughout May at the wonderful Delamore Arts & Sculpture Exhibition – find out more at dealmore-art.co.uk.
I’ve been making mosaics for the past 20 years and enjoy putting a modern twist on this ancient art form. Birds and nature have been a constant theme throughout and recently these have evolved into 3D sculptures. I mainly use recycled china, using the patterns and texture on them to suggest feathers and fur.
I’m originally from the very flatlands of East Anglia, but moved to beautiful south Devon five years ago. I taught design technology for many years, but I now make mosaics full time and run an artists collective – The Barn at Avon Mill near Loddiswell.
You can also take a look at all of the artists’ entries into the competition in Issue 1 in our Competition Gallery.