Sculpting a sketched form from clay is no small task, though the design team does use a scale model first to get the look right.
“We look at how it sits on the ground, we rotate it on a turntable and bring it outside to see what it looks like in the sunlight,” said Kevin Patterson, senior creative modeler. “We even have a rearview mirror to get a different perspective on the form.”
Patterson has worked with Leach before and knows what he’s getting when a project comes in. “When I saw it I thought, ‘another great sketch from Warrack,’” said Patterson.
The team of five sculptors spent about four weeks on the scale model and four weeks on the real thing, though changes continue until the last conceivable moment, in every step. When the sculptors are done with the scale model, they scan it in three dimensions, and a computerized mill cuts a full-size version. Then they go back to tinkering with the design.
Patterson says the key is to keep the essence of the sketch. Luckily, Patterson and Leach have a good relationship. Both know what the other likes and can sense the direction the concept should go. Welburn dropped in during the sculpting process and predictably liked what he saw.