The Muse is probably the most unusual sculpture I've ever created. She was formed from a root ball. For those unfamiliar, a root ball is the tangle of roots that form underground at the base of a tree. In this case the tree had just been uprooted within one of New Orleans many cemeteries. The tree had been lopped off and the root ball was left nearby. Her headpiece was made from a piece of bark from the same tree with a sprig of green moss behind it. Spanish moss was used to create the pieces to either side of her head.
It took weeks to clean it properly as it was caked with mud when I found it. Extreme care had to be taken to clean it completely and dry it so it could be used. Once that was completed it was trimmed and shaped and then sprayed with an epoxy to seal the root structure. The face was formed from a styrofoam wig head cut in half and sealed to the root ball. Clay was later used to form the back of the skull and the features and to fill in any holes that were present behind the styrofoam. The root ball was then sealed to a 1' x 1' fired tile base.
The plinth was created from wooden pillar cut from a house that was being remodeled. That was sealed to a 1' x 1' heavy paving stone to give the whole sculpture weight and avoid tipping problems later. The sculpture was then mounted and seal to the top of the pillar. Natural clay was then used to cover the plinth from bottom to top. The clay was embossed using another piece of bark to recreate something that resembled a tree trunk. Lastly, foaming glue was painted across the whole plinth and allowed to drip from the top tile, sealing the clay and adding an extra dimension of strength to the whole structure.
She was named "The Muse" for my city of New Orleans love affair with Mardi Gras. She was painted in Mardi Gras colors and then sealed in a polyurethane to bring out the metallics in the colors.
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