The Happy Couple


Found and hand-built porcelain, underglazes, clear glaze,
found silver tray, Swarovski crystal, epoxy clay, Gold leaf, and stains,
H 43 W 28 x D 17cm.


    My mother Noelle was an avid collector of Lladro porcelain ceramics and kept them in ornate cabinets. A few of the pieces would venture out of the cabinets from time to time. We had a cat for many years. Wellington was inherited from someone I went to Art College with, in Toowoomba in the early nineteen eighties. It is not known for sure, but we believe Wellington had a dislike for Lladro ceramics.

    I believe it was jealousy that motivated Wellington to commit the crime. Mum was very particular about where all of her collected pieces were positioned. She was also a very fastidious and houseproud person and kept everything sparkling clean like some sort of showroom. I think Wellington may have been jealous of the time Mum spent petting the ceramic pieces, as it would have looked to a jealous cat.

    One day Mum found the sculpture I have now altered laying on the carpet broken into several pieces. Although nothing was actually witnessed, we all suspected Wellington was the culprit. The broken sculpture lay in a drawer in the ceramic cabinet for years until mum finally got sick of waiting for me to fix it for her. Mum was no expert at gluing ceramic pieces back together, her attempts on this particular piece were a testament to that. Sadly, Mum passed away a few years ago now and I inherited the badly restored Lladro sculpture. It sat on a shelf in my studio until very recently. As time passed, I began to pick up the sculpture and reflect on it.

    While holding the badly repaired sculpture I began remembering Mum, reflecting on her collection, Wellington, all the memories ebbing backward and forwards like a coastal shoreline. Like soft whispers, the story of it all came back to me, piece by piece. Eventually, in order to progress with a better repair job or perhaps re-use the sculpture in a Bricolage rebirth, I had to break the sculpture again, with purpose this time, (of course, mum’s repair job held up and the sculpture broke in various new areas). Once re-broken, I slowly pieced together a new story, a new sculpture. Working with epoxy clay, epoxy glue, Gold Leaf, hand building the Ginger Meggs lookalike from Australian porcelain, and press moulding various other elements, “The Happy Couple” began to emerge.

    Ultimately the new sculpture was conceived to conserve and remember the memories of all the past lives that came into contact with the original sculpture. Ironically like the fate of the original sculpture, my parent’s life together was not the happiest of couplings, ultimately ending in divorce and all that goes with that situation. Restoring and embellishing the old sculpture with new elements and stories may be some sort of cathartic attempt at restoring the fond memories of the early “Happy Days” of my parent’s marriage. In any case, by doing so, I have set the stage for a new adventure. This new artwork like a newlywed couple is ready to embark on an entirely new journey.

    Endowed with extra-large Mickey Mouse hands, the Ginger Meggs lookalike is positioned behind Mrs. Mouse as if to be waiting in support to catch her if she stumbles. Both characters look happy and are embellished with riches. The Ginger lookalike’s trousers glisten as if to have fault lines lined with Gold and Mrs. Mouse with a single tasteful Swarovski crystal and sparkling youthful face. Both positioned on an upturned could be, heirloom silver tray. The future is bright for “The Happy Couple”. All the elements are in place. The ongoing story, character associations, and new adventures of this new sculpture I will leave to each of you who chooses to spend a little of your precious time in its presence.

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