Category Archives: Figurative sculptures

Restoration of Spelter figures, with Ewan Stell: Part 2

The restoration of two mid 19th century Spelter figures: The Reaper (‘Left Handed Luke’) and The Sower (‘Nearly Headless Nick‘) continues, with Studio Assistant Ewan Stell.

The slideshow below details the process so far, with captions for each image explaining the stages of the restoration.

Stay tuned to see the next stage of the restoration process…

North Wales Magazine: ‘Sculpting the Future’ – Sonia Goulding interviews Nick Eames

The brilliant Sonia Goulding (of turningthestones.com, and recently featured in Acumen’s online guest poetry) has written this amazing article about Nick, his process, and the intentions behind his work, published in print with North Wales Magazine – they’ve done a beautiful job with the formatting and presentation of it, too!

The article can be found on page 11 of the August 2021 edition, so please support the magazine by picking up a copy. You can check out the pages here, but trust us, it’s even better in print (click on the images for a full preview).

Thank you, Sonia and North Wales Magazine! Photos are courtesy of David Allen, Nick Eames and Tim Johnson.

Oracle Maquettes in Gold + Cleaning of Spelter Figures

Florence Bigglestone (@floss_art) gilds two maquettes of ‘The Oracle’ with gold finishing: This was inspired by Florence’s recent use of gold foil with ‘Maximus.’

Meanwhile, Nick’s daughter Lucy has been cleaning up the two 19th century Spelter figures – ‘Left Handed Luke’ and ‘Nearly Headless Nick’ – before restoration work on the pair continues.

Restoration of Spelter figures, with Ewan Stell: Part 1

Nick is restoring two mid 19th century Spelter figures for his family, together with his Studio Assistant, Ewan Stell. Given the nature of the damage, we’ve named the two figures ‘Left Handed Luke’ and ‘Nearly Headless Nick.’

To restore these figures, Nick will carry out museum quality repairs, otherwise known as reversible repair. This involves the use of rust proof studding, epoxy resin, putty and adhesives. Not only is there no risk of destroying the original piece, but it is possible to differentiate between the restored sections and the original by X-ray. This method is preferable to welding – which risks destroying large areas of the original piece, and is irreversible (museums generally frown on welding as a method of restoration).

In these photographs, the two figures can be seen in Nick’s studio. Ewan is cleaning the figures before the restoration work begins.

Stay tuned to see the next stage of the restoration process…

‘Roman Remains’ – Completed Piece

The casting of the ‘Maximus’ horse skull with Florence Bigglestone (@floss_art) is now complete, and the piece will soon be displayed within the Grosvenor Museum, Chester – as part of an exhibition drawing inspiration from Roman chariot racing.

Final stage: Once the sculpture has been stained, gold leaf is applied to the raised filligree.

‘Roman Remains’ – Stage 6

The casting of the ‘Maximus’ horse skull with Florence Bigglestone (@floss_art) continues, safely and with social distancing…

Part 1: Using dremels, drills, knives and files, fine detailing is added. The surface of the plaster cast skull is worked, filed, and sanded to a fine finish.

Part 2: The filligree molds are prepared, for the filligree designs to be cast onto the plaster skull.

Part 3: Once cast and set, the filligree designs are then worked over, for a fine finish. Soon, the gold leaf will be added.

Stay tuned for the next part of the process, as ‘Maximus’ nears completion…

‘Roman Remains’ – Stage 5

The casting of the ‘Maximus’ horse skull with Florence Bigglestone (@floss_art) continues, safely and with social distancing…

Part 1: Molds of Florence’s filligree designs are made in latex, and then reinforced with layers of plaster. Casting begins in plaster on the lower jaw mold.

Part 2: Test casts are taken of Florence’s filligree designs, with gold leaf added.

Part 3: Casting of the full skull continues, and the caps start to be joined together.

Part 4: Once the caps have been joined and cast, de-molding begins. Here, Florence can be seen chipping away the scrim that reinforces the joiner’s dogs.

Stay tuned for the next part of the mold making process!

‘Roman Remains’ – Stage 4, Major Update!

The casting of the ‘Maximus’ horse skull with Florence Bigglestone (@floss_art) continues, safely and with social distancing…

Part 1: The final caps of the piece mold for the skull are prepared for a vinamold pour – with the seams filled in with clay, vaseline & white spirit applied, joiner’s dogs fitted, and runners & risers added. The pour then takes place. Once the vinamold has set, de-molding begins.

Part 2: These photographs show how the piece mold has been constructed; in particular how the intricate shapes around the nose have been held in place (to create the needed grooves/hollows in negative). The vinamold caps are brushed down and cleaned, in preparation for test casts to be taken.

Part 3: While test casts are taken from the vinamold caps of the jaw, Florence creates a filligree of her own design, in clay, directly onto the face of the skull itself (which has previously been restored, repaired and reinforced). The filligree design is directly inspired by Roman chariots. Latex will later be used to take molds of the clay filligree.

Part 4: Test casts are taken from the jaw, to test the strength, thickness and finish – the plaster is combined with different types of fibres for each test cast. This process will inform the full cast of the skull. In these images, the test caps seen were cast with jute scrim.

Part 5: Another filligree, of Florence’s design, is created for the sides of the jaw – modelled directly in clay over the bone. Clay walls are then run around the areas on both the face of the skull and the jaw, for molds of the filligree to be taken in latex. After that, the latex is built up in several coats, and then reinforced with cotton scrim.

Stay tuned for the next part of the mold making process!

‘The Sculptor’ – Welsh Country Magazine Feature

The brilliant Sonia Goulding has written a feature article (for Welsh Country online magazine) on Nick, and how his sculpture practise has evolved. It’s difficult to discuss the world of sculpture and form using words, but Sonia has a gift with them – have a read!

A big thank you to both Sonia, and Welsh Country magazine.

“Nick continues to work in his quiet and determined way. Principled in his approach, and fiercely passionate, he has remained independent of means, and therefore of thought and artistic direction. His sculptures are deeply personal responses to the people and the landscapes which move him to creativity, the beauty and emotion he sees in shape and form made real, sculpture as a gracious, never-ending dance.”

Source: The Sculptor

‘Roman Remains’ – Stage 3

The casting of the ‘Maximus’ horse skull with Florence Bigglestone (@floss_art) continues, safely and with social distancing): The most fragile areas of the skull are reinforced with clay and vinymold, to allow for clean de-molding of the caps without damage to the skull itself. The caps are then prepared in plaster.