Monday 22 May: Yesterday was my Airbnb experience where we were sculpting a head from scratch. Our tutor was Alexandre Haulet, (who started taking sculpture workshops at the Louvre when he was seven years old, took a diversion into marketing and then came back to sculpting). The group size is no more than 4 people and this allows Alexandre to work with everyone in the class. He is a warm, talented, energised man who is very easy to talk too and is all about making you feel comfortable all the way through the session.

We were all sculpture beginners i.e. we had never done it before.  Alexandre demonstrated what the steps were and checked that we understood and that we were making good progress. I say at the outset that this experience comes highly recommended and I am not out there marketing for Airbnb but it was bloody good.  Alexandre meets you at Gare Saint Lazare and you take a short journey by train to his studio just outside central Paris.

During the class we learnt some interesting facts – which were crucial for determining perspective and spacing of facial features:

  1. The distance between the outer eyes is the same for everyone irrespective of the size of your face.
  2. That distance is also the same for just under your lower lip creating a triangle for facial features.
  3. Your eyes are evenly spaced and of you were to draw a straight line down from the middle of your eyes this would correlate with either end of your mouth.

We started off with a metal post which had a small ball of newspaper wrapped with sellotape to allow the head to be formed on something. We then set about making the head shape which was more of a challenge for me than I thought – although Alexandre had one “he made earlier”that we could use as a reference. So after building up the head and neck and doing some trimming here and there to get the proportions right (with Alexandre’s expert guidance), we then moved on the marking the lines –  down the middle first to check for symmetry and then the eyes and mouth. I took some pictures with my iPhone which are posted below so you can see the transformation from head shape into a 3D fictional portrait. We then followed his lead to make the eye sockets and roughly shape the nose. We then made the ‘croissants’ for the upper and lower lip and Alexandre shaped the filtrum for me and we worked on the cheekbones a little. Then with this basic outline, we were let loose to do whatever we wanted and I went hair crazy… this wave design came to me and just went with it. Alexandre then shaped the eyes for me and I created the brow, following his lead. He also made the ear but showed me how it was done and as I only needed one, I left his on. He advised me to balance out the bust by creating the outline of a shoulder and then suggested that I create a scarf for her…. but I decided on ruffles to complement the hair. I am soooooo happy with the finished product which will be fired in the oven and shipped to me. I enjoyed the session so much that I am actively looking into sculpture courses back in London to continue with this discipline – and this is all thanks to Alexandre. So the next time you’re in Paris and have 3 hours to spare, sign up for his feel and create experience…. you will definitely feel and most definitely create!!

Now of course what I should have really done was time lapsed this session and the presented it as my completed transformation project…. but I didn’t!

Assignment criteria: 1 & 2