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

Assemblage – The Swan Princess

The Swan Princess

Latest addition to the Etsy shop, is this assemblage comprised of a wire an papier mache figurine accompanied by a cast metal swan on the stage of a mock theater.

The Swan Princess

Inspired by the mythical creature of many tales and legends, who shape-shifts from human form to swan form, this piece owes its origins to the story of the Swan Maiden.  Folktales usually adhere to the following basic plot. A young, unmarried man steals a magic robe made of swan feathers from a swan maiden so that she will not fly away, and winds up marrying her.

To find out more about the fairy tale, try these Wikipedia pages -the fairy tale. If you would like to read the fairy tale, you’ll find it along with other fairy tales, freely available in Kindle format and many more, here at the wonderful Project Gutenberg . If you’ve lost your copy of the fairy tale and want to replace it or would like to buy a hard copy, try this list at Amazon The Swan Maiden

To purchase this item, please, visit Our Etsy Shop for further details.

May 1, 2012   No Comments

The Princess and the Pea – Wire and Papier Mache Sculpture

I’ve been working on the “The Princess and the Pea” for what seems like ages but, she’s finally here.

The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea - Papier Mache, Wire and Fabric Sculpture.

Of course, she’s inspired by the well known Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea”. In the fairy tale, a young girl is revealed as a princess after claiming to have had a restless night, caused by a pea being placed under the multitude of matresses and featherbeds upon which she slept (the actual number was 20 matresses and 20 featherbeds – I stopped at 15 :) ).

Princess and the pea

The Princess and the Pea - Papier Mache, Wire and Fabric Sculpture

23cm wide, 33cm high and 16cm deep, the piece depicts a small princess wearing a billowing silk nightdress, awakeing from her restless slumber, yawning and streching as morning approaches.

The figure is made from wire and papire mache. Her hair is made from soft viscose, gathered and ruched, which falls in a lomg plait to the floor. Her nightdress is 100% silk – after all, she is a princess! On the rug are her discarded slippers, patiently made form little pieces of paper.

Now to the bed, it’s also made form wire and papier mache and sits atop a book as if coming alive from the story. A ladder sweeps in a curve to the top of the bed. Whilst her mattresses, each one individually handmade, come from all over the world – Indian cottons, Chinese silk and satins, beautiful cottons, linens and 100% cashmere. The sheets under which she lay, like her nightdress are made from 100% silk, overlayed with warm luxurious blankest made form vintage lace and cahmere.

The photos shown here, unlike the ones on Etsy, were taken against a dark background. I’m  not to sure which I like best, what do you think?

To find out more about the author – Hans Christian Andersen and the fairy tale, try these Wikipedia pages – the author or the fairy tale. If you would like to read the fairy tale, you’ll find it along with other Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales freely available in Kindle format and many more, here at the wonderful Project Gutenberg .  If you’ve lost your copy of the fairy tale and want to replace it or would like to buy a hard copy, try Amazon – The Princess and the Pea

To purchase this item, please, visit Our Etsy Shop for further details.


April 20, 2012   2 Comments

Etsy Treasury – A Fairy Wedding

Time to share what others are doing.  Hope you like them.

Sheer Vintage Butto…


20s Flapper Window …


Antique Linen Damas…


Especially in Love …


set of vintage dinn…


Precious Little Gir…


Larger French Cafe …


A Faerie Wedding – …


Ring of Swans


Vintage Heart Bell …


Acrylic 3d mixed me…


CYBER Monday Sale -…


A chiffon 50s cockt…




Hot Air Balloon pho…


Milkglass Vases Pla…


November 30, 2011   No Comments

Marianne (Marianne Dashwood Sense & Sensibility) – Assemblage

Marianne Dashwod

Sense & Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1811. A work of romantic fiction, Sense and Sensibility is set in southwest England in 1792 through 1797, and portrays the life and loves of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, daughters of their father Henry’s second wife, Mrs. Dashwood. The sisters are starkly different from each other; Elinor is the epitome of prudence and self-control while Marianne embodies emotion and enthusiasm. Elinor, Marianne, and their younger sister, Margaret, are left in reduced circumstances when their father dies and his estate is passed onto their half-brother, John. The novel follows the young ladies to their new home, a meager cottage on a distant relative’s property, where they experience love, romance and heartbreak.

Marianne Dashwood

To findout more about the author – Jane Austen and the novel, try these Wikipedia pages – the author or the novel .  If you would like to read the novel, it is avilable free and in several different formats, here at the wonderful Project Gutenberg.

Marianne (Sense & Sensiility)

November 20, 2011   No Comments

Alice at the Tate Livrepool


You may have noticed over recent months I’m on a bit of an Alice in Wonderland thing; its having quite an influence on my assemblage and paper/book sculpture.  Well if you live near Liverpool or are visiting between now and the end of January, you might beat me to an exhibition I want to go to – Alice in Wonderland at the Tate Liverpool.

The Tate Liverpool

“Lewis Carroll’s timeless novels, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, have fascinated children and adults alike since their publication over 150 years ago. Alice in Wonderland at Tate Liverpool is the first exhibition of its kind to explore how Lewis Carroll’s stories have influenced the visual arts, inspiring generations of artists. The exhibition will provide insight into the creation of the novels and the inspiration they have provided for artists through the decades.

The starting point for the exhibition is Carroll’s original manuscript, written in 1864 as a present for ten year old Alice Liddell.  Carroll’s own illustrations ensured that images were central to the story, creating a visual world which took on a life of its own.

Alice in Wonderland will offer visitors a rare opportunity to view Carroll’s own drawings and photographs, alongside Victorian Alice memorabilia and John Tenniel’s preliminary drawings for the first edition of the novel”.

Alice at the Tate Liverpool

To find out more visit the Tate Liverpool web site at

November 11, 2011   No Comments