The Bad Mother and the Weak Father

Maquettes  for my project with Simon Lewin of St. Jude’s Prints. Simon has been producing occasional publications under the ‘Random Spectacular’ title for quite a while. However, this year he’s going all out to expand the imprint with a series of exciting projects, one of which is to produce a picture-book that I’ve wanted to make for a long time. ‘Hansel & Gretel’ is going to be quite dark in tone. Definitely not one for the children. As is usually my way with projects, I’ve built maquettes of  the characters to help me create the images. Here are the Bad Mother and the Weak Father. She is as sour as vinegar, and he is careworn to the point of being rendered mute by her vitriol. One day she’s going to push him too far!

The tree is by Johann Rohl, currently working with me in the studio on a collaborative project.

Below: earlier maquettes of The Bad Mother

Things can end badly for bad mothers!

11 thoughts on “The Bad Mother and the Weak Father

  1. Pingback: More model-making | hedgecrows

  2. Pingback: The Bad Mother and the Weak Father | entertainmentinside

  3. Oh Clive…..such fabulous images! I can’t wait for the finished picture book (can we pre-order it yet??). I love that juxtaposition of the blank, empty father with the ghastly mother – I can almost hear her rabbiting away in the background….mutter mutter moan moan nag nag. I often think there are ‘soundtracks’ to your work 😉

  4. The shells are a fabulous idea–reminds me of your fiddling with different ideas for eyes in Maze of Blood. They convey eyes so clearly but also emptiness and the thought of wind whistling through, mournful and bleak.

    • Thank you, Marly. This project is a lot of fun. I feel that there’s so much to be crammed into a fairly limited space in the book, that every image must pack a maximum punch. The weak father has become a hollow man, which is a notion rich in visual possibilities.

  5. ¡ Poor children !
    I hope they have a grandmother to take over the family ( I am partial to grandmothers ), once they come back from roasting the witch in her Aga!

    And yes, Phil Cooper’s ” Reculver Project “, at Hedgecrows is already a beauty…

  6. Clive I imagine that the weak father was mothered himself by a cold mother and was deadened emotionally in his own childhood (backstory!). We carry generations in us of human stories.
    By the way I recall reading a lot of Joseph Campbell’s analysis of the King Arthur tale. He talked about the Gawain image. It might be interesting for you-maybe.

    • I’m on to the Cambell, and thank you for the recommendation.

      Cosima, I love layering in clues to narrative images. I guess that at some level I will always be that choreographer (my first career) who told stories through the medium of dance.

  7. These maquettes absolutely rock! So powerful they tell stories all by themselves without any words. I would have imagined the weak father as a character who would be more difficult to conjure but you’ve nailed it, Clive. His sad, exhausted emptiness and impotent fury are brilliantly expressed in that face of empty shells, and that hat!

    Great tree too, Johann. It’s strange and creepy.

    • Phil, thank you. These have been fun to make. I’m pleased you like the weak father. The empty shell idea was a bit of a punt. I was worried the idea was too fanciful, but in reality, the realisation has worked in all sorts of ways, regardless of any underlying interpretation by the viewer. He looks sad and empty, and that telegraphs a lot in terms of the narrative. He doesn’t play a very big role, but I wanted what we saw of him to have impact.

      Love what you’re doing with the models at yours!

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