This is another piece that came about by accident. I had just modelled a one-third life-size figure of a young French girl, Perrine, when I decided to use the figure to experiment with some draping techniques. I tried draping a variety of different materials on the clay figure until I found one particular type of linen that worked beautifully to reveal the human form underneath. Once I saw the results, I knew I had to find a way to make a permanent copy of the work.
To make a permanent copy, I re-did the arrangement using a piece of cloth soaked in plaster. I quickly arranged the material on the model until the plaster began to solidify and become unworkable. Then, just before the plaster-soaked cloth became too difficult to work with, I carefully remove it from the figure and set it aside to completly harden.
Once again, visitors to the studio saw the piece and insisted that I make copies for them. This time, however, it was impossible to use a mold to make copies as I normally do with my other sculptures. Perrines's Robe, as I had named the piece, requires a process where each individual piece is made by hand. In the end, the "copies" I make are not really copies at all, since the drapery of each indivdual piece is always arranged slightly differently from all other pieces.
Perrine's Robe looks good under pratically any lighting condition, but is particularly striking when lit from above. The piece gives off a very strong sense of solidity and weight, yet because it is hollow, everyone is always surprized at how little it weighs.
This piece works well when place directly on tables and shelves as in this example. However, an optional base, made of solid wood and painted flat black, is available and may be best in other situations as shown here.
Perrine's Robe, © 1999
Cloth soaked in plaster
18 in. (46 cm) high
Price 195 USD