The sculpting of Aboriginal people
by Daryl Duhamel began in 1967, as a Centennial project for Canada's 100th
birthday. It was her intention in the beginning to do only Canadian Indians.
Both the lack of factual material and her discovery that the Indian People
of Canada and of the United States were often inter-twined caused Daryl
to expand her category to Indians of North America.
Early pieces were sculptured in ceramic clay, (California white) and finished in high-fire glazes. Not satisfied with the glaze finish, which Daryl felt was too harsh, she began experimenting. First with Bisq-wax (a colorant with a bees-wax base) and then with stains. The soft patina of the stains was more in keeping with the subject matter, so by 1972 stains had become the medium of choice. In the mid 1980's a new development made the combination of stains and chalk possible. Layer upon layer of colours, each protected by a porcelain mist, finally achieved for her the soft shadings she desired.
Never satisfied, 1988 saw a switch from ceramic clay to porcelain. This brought with it new challenges for Daryl. Old methods and techniques had to be altered, sometimes even abandoned with this new medium. More brittle in it's greenware (unfired) state, other methods of support had to be found.
Several explosions did take place in the kiln, with hundreds of hours of labour going down in dust, before Daryl had ironed out the "quirks" peculiar to such small, detailed sculptures. However, the added strength and fineness to the finished work, was according to Daryl, worth it all.
Though different mediums and techniques have evolved over the years, Daryl's penchant for accuracy has,remained constant. Each piece represents either an historical moment - a culture and /or custom, perhaps a particular person. Whatever, the clothing , bead work and patterns for each piece is researched through libraries, museums and/or archives of Indian peoples. Daryl has a passion for accuracy and detail. She wants what she sculpts to be an authentic, visual record of days and people gone by.
Each sculpture is accompanied by
a short write-up, (decoupaged for durability) giving some historical back-ground
of the sculpture. A synopsis which, more often than not, also gives insight
into the feelings and emotions which first inspired the sculpture
by artist, Daryl Duhamel.
Each sculpture is an original and so marked. The 1/1signature, indicating one only.
Works are sculpted from porcelain
and fired between 2000 and 2300 degrees.
The brilliant colours and fabric textures are achieved by various combinations of stain,
chalks and translucents for a permanent finish and soft patina.
Each sculpture represents an historical
moment and/or an aspect of
culture or custom. Clothing is such as would be worn during the activity
represented as well as according to the tribe involved.
Such detail is gleaned from libraries,
museums and archives.
In more recent years, writings by Indian people themselves
has provided some of the information.
The artist Duhamel desires not only
to create a sculpture of beauty and interest,
but also to leave an authentic, pictorial record of the Aboriginal peoples of North America.