Thursday, June 11, 2009

Antique Wooden Artist's Manniquin

I bought this little figure years ago. It was missing it's left forearm and hand. Expensive at $250, considering it was broken. They wouldn't lower the price. I bought him anyway.

What I hadn't expected was how much I'd learn from it.

When I examined it closely, I realized that I could carve the replacement arm and socket myself. When you repair something you are the second person to actually see it. Everyone is content to scan the world around them. But to copy, you really have to see. Not just measurements but the style and the angle of cuts.

This little guy is a mastery of economy. Nothing is fussy or overworked. Whoever made it was in production mode. Efficiency rules, yet there are odd quirky aspects to it. The individual hairs of the eyebrows, and the feet with bunions.

I showed him to a collector of artist's manniquins. He said that from the style of it, it was probably American made and from the 1800's. Repairing him became a mini-master class, well worth the original price. I've referenced him many times when I have a carving question. My sculpture collection is not a luxury, it's a working reference library.....

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