The art of Sue Griffiths at MessieJessie
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Wire and papier mache Sculpture – Ophelia

This wire and papier mache sculpture -Shakespeare’s Young Ophelia, is another piece I’ve been working on since our return from Bristol. I worked on this wire and papier mache sculpture at the same time as working on “Scarlett O’Hara. She’s up on Etys and I,should have posted about her yesterday but, I ran out of time.

Ophelia in wire and papier mache

Ophelia in wire and papier mache.

Ophelia has always been a favourite of mine but I’ve been unsure of how to bring her to life; should I make an assemblage mixed media art dress or should I go the wire and papier mache sculpture route? Having finished her I’m glad I chose the wire and papier mache sculpture option. Strangely enough, my harshest critic – Tom, is quite taken by her; though at first he was not convinced it would work.
My wire and papier mache sculpture version of Ophelia, is inspired by the Pre Raphaelite artist Arthur Hughes’ painting, currently held in the Manchester City Art Gallery. Arthur Hughes was only 19 when he painted Ophelia; it depicts Ophelia as a young girl, innocent and naive. In Shakespeare’s play Ophelia, is driven to madness by Hamlet’s murder of her father and rejection of her love. In Arthur Hughes’ painting we see her minutes before she drowns.

Ophelia by Arthur Hughes

Ophelia by Arthur Hughes.

In creating the figure of Ophelia I first made a body from wire and papier mache then, added her hair which is made from soft muslin, cotton and lace which is intricately stitched and gathered and, then falls long down her back. Her nightdress is a beautiful satin, cotton mixture of whites and ivories. Ophelia’s bouquet and the flowers falling from her hand are very strange, like nothing I’ve come across before. They come from a vintage wedding tiara and are made from a wax and mother of pearl, which gives them a very strange fee – soft but firm at the same time. In parts I’ve added gold leaf to act as highlights.

Young Ophelia

Young Ophelia

Ophelia is a fictional character in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. She is a young noblewoman of Denmark, the daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, and potential wife of Prince Hamlet. As one of the few female characters in the play, she is used as a contrasting plot device to Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude.

More tomorrow? Lets wait and see.

Click here to visit my  Etsy Shop . My Etsy shop has several other assemblage art pieces for sale; I hope you enjoy viewing them. If you have any queries about this piece or any of the other pieces in my Etsy shop or, would like further information about Messie Jessie, please feel free to contact me via a “convo” through my Etsy shop or via e-mail at .

June 13, 2013   1 Comment

Wire and Paper Sculpture – The Pearl Spun Princess.

Wire & Paper Sculpture.

Wire & Paper Sculpture.

Over the weekend I’ve been busy making a wire and paper figurine; similar to one I had in the shop late last year. I know I don’t use strong colours in my work but it doesn’t mean I don’t like colour.  I love colour, its inspiration straight away.  But I do love subtle tones, especially playing with tones that are closely linked.  The colours of the satins I bought I just love.  In this little wire and paper figurine the colours of the satins have totally influenced the piece,” The Pearl Spun Princess”.  Beautiful soft oyster pinks, like the colours of the inside of a shell, also soft pearly whites.  Contrast is good in any work so with wire and paper figurine, I have the contrast within the textures of the materials, the sheen of the satin against the roughness and crispness of the cartridge paper of her under skirt.

Wire & Paper Sculpture

The Pearl Spun Princess.

I can just imagine this young sprite living along the coast searching for beautiful pearls and spinning them into the most magnificent fabrics.

This wire and paper figurine is up on my Etsy shop.

The occasional wire and paper figurine is great fun to make, they take on a life of their own and you never really know who or what you’ll end up with. For now I’ve got to get back to Sleeping Beauty as I want to get her finished by the end of the week.  She has been so fiddly to do; I’ve had to do her between other projects.  Will post her when she is done.

As an aside, we had some snow over the weekend; Tom was made up, he loves the stuff ( snow is very rare here, we usually have to travel to the mainland to go play in it).  He even walked down to the village shop at break of dawn so he could be out in it. Wished I’d gone with him now but, stayed snuggled up in bed. We took some pics so will try and get them up this coming Wednesday. Here’s a taster.

Snowy Saturday sunrise in Trearddur Bay

Snowy Saturday sunrise in Trearddur Bay.

January 21, 2013   3 Comments

Mixed Media Sculpture – “Oranges from China “

“Oranges from China”, the quote alludes to a Leonard Cohen song called Suzanne. This is the first of a series of handmade small mixed media and papier mache sculptures of different figures on little tea cups, each with it’s own story.

Mixed Media Sculpture - Primrose

Mixed Media Sculpture – “Oranges from China”.

I love using words and letting those words influence my art.  Tea cups are also something else I love, there is just something about the tea cup, the ceremony and history behind tea! Even the names of tea evoke different feelings, they’re beautiful “Lapsang Souchong”, “Cloud and Mist” and “Water Fairy”, I could carry on….. “Golden Marine Turtle”…….enough! But, they are just so gorgeous one more – “Golden Cassia”.

Mixed Media Sculpture – “Oranges from China”

 “A cup of Orange Blossom tea if you please”


If you would like to purchase this dress, please visit Our Etsy Shop for further details.

I normally take all the photos for the Etsy listing and blog post but on this occasion I invited a guest director.  However, he couldn’t quite get to grips with the subject matter and decided to leave it to me.

Right, lets have it over here lovies

Oh, never mind.

July 9, 2012   No Comments

Assemblage – The Red Shoes (Hans Christian Andersen)

First published as a fairy tale, The Red Shoes is a story by the famous Danish poet and author Hans Christian Anderson, and the source which inspired my latest piece.   Forced to dance continually in her red shoes, it recounts the tale of a young peasant girl punished for her vanity.

Messie Jessie Assemblage

Assemblage - The Red Shoes

History has it that Andersen’s inspiration for the tale centered on an incident he witnessed as a child.  His father, a shoemaker, was sent a piece of red silk by a rich lady customer, to make a pair of dancing slippers for her daughter. He duly produced the slippers, made of red leather, but the customer was dissatisfied and less than complimentary when she saw the results. She claimed he had spoiled her silk rather than creating a wonderful pair of slippers, to which he retorted,  “In that case I may as well spoil my leather too,” and he cut up the shoes in front of her.

Messie Jessie Assemblage

Assemblage - The Red Shoes

To find out more about the Hans Christian Anderson story visit Wikipedia .  If you would like to read The Red Shoes or any of his other fairy tales, it is available free and in several different formats (also as an audio book), here at the wonderful Project Gutenberg.  But, Tom says, if you would like to own your own hard copy try following this link  Complete Andersen’s Fairy Tales (Wordsworth Library Collection) .

Tom has said these photos are somewhat samey.  I may have some others somewhere so I’ll try and get them up later 🙁

January 15, 2012   2 Comments