Learning to Sculpt in Florence - kempspace photography

L’Alba

Meaning ‘The Dawn’ in Italian.


This portrait sculpture was hand sculpted in clay by myself. I copied it by sight from the original sculpted by my master sculptor teacher, Frank Rekrut, of The Florence Studio in Florence, Italy. This was my first portrait sculpture, something I went to Florence specifically to study under his individual tutelage.

The methods used were traditional. During the last stages of the clay sculpting, I refined the face without reference to the original to add my own interpretation to it. I worked intensely with little touching of the clay by Frank as I was encouraged to be brave in my marks. I then covered the clay head in a thick, flexible, silicone mold, followed by a strong plaster cast to hold it. The cast and mold were then opened, the original clay head thrown, and the mold and cast sealed again to take the pouring of a fine white plaster; this was set through hand-turned centrifugal layers, ever thickening, until it was dry and the portrait sculpture you can see above was taken from the cast. This moment was so very special to me.

I spent three separate weeks in Florence completing this, at a time when I was recovering well from a breakdown and exploring a creative inheritance I knew only a little about. As a clinical psychologist, the experience of working in an artist’s studio in Florence, and portrait sculpting, has been nothing less than the dawning of a joyous, engrossing, meditative, revealing discovery for me. Frank and Laura who own the studio remain close friends, and I will be seeing them again for more study; they always welcome me ‘home’.

Should you wish to have a copy of this portrait, or commission one of your own from me, please feel welcome to contact me via the contact page in the menu on my website here, and I would be very happy to discuss what would be right for you. More information on Frank and Laura’s studio in Florence can be found at www.theflorencestudio.com, they welcome both new and experienced artists there, helping both to explore their talents in a gentle, fun, knowledgeable environment.


Thank you for reading.


“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started…and know the place for the first time.” T.S.Eliot



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