Link to Amanda's Home page


Artist Statement

My sculpture message is about joy and life and love. My sculptures reflect optimism and positivity and embrace a celebration of the human, having survived and thrived despite the odds. In a fragile and insecure world, there is still time to revel in the moment, a place for joy and excitement, and space for defiance and resilience. Without making an overt political statement, my sculptures seek to be thought-provoking by presenting a message of survival and hope.

My sculpture stories mainly revolve around people’s relationships with each other and the world around them. My favorite subject is the parent and child, often prompted by images of my own children's childhoods that bubble up and re-surface under my fingers. The parent and child is an ancient symbol of hope and optimism.

I love exploring balance. My people are often on their toes, hopping or dancing, caught in a moment of time. Their precarious position creates a tension and movement in the piece, but I also like the lightness and whimsy that it brings for the viewer to share in and enjoy.

I like reducing the human figure to its bare essentials using simple lines and flowing shapes. I try to tell the story with as little extraneous 'noise' as possible. That ideal comes partly from my graphic design training and the all-important "KISS" mantra (Keep It Simple Stupid), where less is more and negative space is vital; and also from my scriptwriting background where the best practice is to cut anything not essential to the story. Photography training has also contributed to my style in the areas of composition, texture and the use of light and shadow.

I also love texture - it not only creates highlights and energy, but is a sign of individuality, a 'made by hand' statement in a world of mass-produced goods. I use oxides to emphasise texture on my ceramic pieces and on my metal work, I use coloured wax and patinas. All my ceramic pieces are one-offs while my metal sculptures are either one-offs using the lost wax method or a limited edition of ten*.

Process
I start with a pencil drawing or a small clay 'maquette' or model. [Maquette comes from the Italian word macchietta or sketch, and originally from the Latin word macula or spot.] I sketch quickly in clay or on paper, without too much thought, just trying to capture the image in my mind before it slips back into the cesspit! I'll sometimes do a whole series and put most of them aside for another day.

The maquette acts as a first draft for the larger piece and sometimes I will make 2 or 3 larger drafts of the same sculpture, making improvements from one to the next. My finished sculptures are made from either rolled slabs of clay formed into hollow shells and fired in my kiln, or carved in wax which I send to a foundry to be cast in metal.

Like a painter faced with a blank canvas, it's unnerving when confronted by a big block of fresh clay or sticks of wax scattered on my bench. How can I form anything out of such formlessness? But then I study my drawing or turn the maquette over in my hand and find a start point, a place to build on - and then before I realise it, a shape has started to form!

I enjoy the creativity in these early stages where shapes and lines move quickly, but I also love the time-consuming finishing stage where the surface is finalised and time slows down. This is where sculpture becomes a meditation, an in-the-moment experience - often into the wee small hours of the night. There's nothing I enjoy more!

Background
Amanda was born in London and grew up in Sydney Australia. Sculpture was never far from her hands in childhood, from plasticine figures to carved iced cakes. After majoring in sculpture in her final year of high school, she diverged to study film and scriptwriting at university - but even here she found a way to sculpt by producing a clay-mation animation! After backpacking around the world, she found herself working in London and again returned to her life's passion by completing a certificate in sculpture at the Kensington and Chelsea College.

Back in Sydney and while running a graphic design business (to pay the bills), Amanda continued to develop her sculptural practice, studying sculpture methods and metal casting techniques at workshops and TAFE courses. Then after encouragement and mentoring from artist-teachers, she finally took the plunge and set up her own studio - and has now, happily, 'found her place'!

Awards
Amanda has exhibited widely, been accepted into numerous competitions and has won many prizes. In the last 2 years she has twice won prizes at the Sculptors Society Annual Awards, and has won 1st prize in Figurative Sculpture at the Sydney Royal Arts, the Ewart Art Prize, and the Northbridge Art Prize. She has also won People’s Choice Awards at Bowral Sculpture Show, Sculpture on Clyde, Sculpture in the Valley, Sculpture Bermagui, Northern Beaches Art Prize and the Sydney Teapot Show.

Amanda is a committee member of The Sculptors Society, and a member of the Australian Ceramics Association and the Workshop Arts Centre. She is also the convenor of the popular Greenwich Village Arts Trail, held annually on the first weekend in November in northern Sydney.

 

* The mold is destroyed after ten castings. Making a mold for a limited edition is an essential tool for sculptors as casting in metal is such a labour-intensive and expensive process. Some well-known sculptures have multiple copies in galleries around the world!