Saturday, 26 October 2013

A love affair with Mannequins

Her name is Esmeralda, she stands at 50cm tall, it took approximately 14 hours to make her, and is the latest addition to my mannequin obsession.
This little mannequin I hand created using feathers, tulle, french lace, diamanties, beads, Italian trims, silk flowers, crochet, wings and much more. There is a lot of detail on them and one can look at them for a long time observing the crazy mix of textures and colours. The items I use have been collected either from my travels in various parts of the world, sourcing on line and scouring vintage shops which tend to have some wonderful one-off pieces to add. Each layer/piece is glued or stitched on(even the beads on top of beads are individually glued on).
My love affair with making these avant garde mannequins started 25 years ago when I bought a dressmaking bust from a 2nd hand shop and glued a collage of shells and beads all over her. I had a wrought iron candelabra top and base made to fit the mannequin so that it transformed into a giant 2m high mannequin candelabra. I still have that mannequin! From there I made several large ones and sold them in galleries and shops in Australia and Italy.
Whilst living in Milan I stumbled upon a man that hand made small papier mache mannequins and that is when I began to make smaller ones too.....also having iron feet and miniature candelabra tops made for them. 
The last few years I haven't made any with candelabra tops because of my travels and in fact had a break from making them entirely until recently. Since making them again they have become more and more detailed and elaborate (as you will see in upcoming posts on my previous mannequins) and hence take more time to make.
I believe this a reflection of my changing life and the many colourful experiences I have so far had. I also think I'm a little crazy, so it could be a reflection of my personality!! 
My ladies (as I like to call them) are all given names to suit the personalities they take on as I make them and have been sold all around the world in shops and galleries from Italy to London, France to USA, Australia to Singapore.  They adorn homes as unique d├ęcor pieces, shops as window displays, centrepieces for tables. They have been photographed and featured in numerous magazines I have lost count.....I guess they become super models!!
No two are alike.  I am inspired by the baroque era, colours, nature, textures, and travels. Each and every one of them are unique art pieces that give me such joy when creating them. I love transforming them from a papier mache bust to a theatrical ornament. Each time one sells, a part of my soul goes with them so I guess a little bit of me is scattered all over the globe.
No matter how many different creative avenues I take with my career......I never lose sight of making my ladies regardless of whether I take a break for a while in making them.  They will be what I will be doing late in life and they will only get better.  
One day when I have a proper studio and all my equipment in one place, I will re-commence making "life size" mannequins and I just can't wait. Watch out for these, they will certainly be grand.

I custom make. If you have particular colours you love, then I can make to suit you. 
For all enquiries please email me on

In posts to come I will feature my "yellow" mannequin (below photo) and some keep reading.

Bye for now........Gessica & Esmeralda X

1 comment:

  1. They are stunning! I want them all... AM