Lynn Falconer has been working as a sculptor for over ten years. She has always loved her work doing larger gallery pieces, but was looking for a new challenge. Falconer decided to take a group approach. Each participant in her challenge group had to identify some key goal that they wanted to achieve over the course of sixteen weeks.
“I wasn’t getting into the studio enough to do my art, so I committed to doing three hours a day.” Every night, the group would check with each other – honour system rules – to make sure they had fulfilled their daily goals. “Every time we didn’t do it, we had to give $25 to the pot.”
“I’m extremely competitive,” says Falconer, “and one Sunday evening, I realized: ‘Oh my God, I’m missing one of my three hour chunks.’ I had some fimo clay with me. I made this little creature and I kind of liked it. I ended up creating this woman facing forward: Lola.”
This quick-panic fimo Lola ended up inspiring Falconer’s latest collection. While she was having some of her larger pieces cast, she had Richard Forbes of Forbes Foundry – “he’s been casting my work for years” – make forty of these 6 inch bronze figures. “I started selling them at the Culture Crawl last year and they sold out. I got an order for my first store : “Gild and Company at 10th and Trimble. It’s a great place.”
Some of these smaller bronzes have been inspired by the burlesque dancers who model for Falconer’s Life Drawing class at West Point Grey Community Centre. “They are absolutely beautiful, shapely, super-confident women. They are so comfortable with their bodies. I love the ways they move when they are posing.” There is also the rather popular Lars figure with his buns of bronze.
Though they are meant to be functional hooks, many clients buy Ginger, Rose and the gang to display on tables and shelves around their homes. “They are all hand-signed. With all the steps involved in making them, each one comes out different.”
On her website, Falconer has laid out a visual of how to create a bronze sculpture – from clay to liquid rubber, hot wax, sand, molten bronze, sand blasting and patina.
Falconer didn’t start her career as a sculptor. After an artistic childhood helmed by a sculptor mother, Falconer decided to go into graphic design. “I did it for such a long time. I did all sorts of things for corporate clients – logo design, annual reports. I liked the work, but you’re always doing it for someone else. You have to give up a lot for other people.”
With her 40th birthday looming, Falconer went to visit her Mum in Mexico. Why not come to the studio and sculpt something, her Mum suggested. “I finished my first sculpture on my 40th birthday.” The gentleman who was running her Mum’s studio suggested that Falconer cast her sculpture. “Why bother?” Falconer wondered. “Someone might buy one,” was his answer.
Sure enough, a visiting friend asked to buy this first sculpture. Word spread, and soon Falconer was selling up a storm, auctioning pieces for Arts Umbrella’s Splash and crowding out the family kitchen with buckets of supplies.
Finally, five years ago, Falconer decided to take the next step and get an artist’s studio down at 1000 Parker Street. “Taking that on was huge. It was like saying out loud that I was an artist. Since I moved in, there’s been a huge shift in the work I’m doing. It feels like something I needed to have.”
When she’s not busy sculpting, Falconer runs in-studio sculpture classes for non-artists. There is wine, snacks, music and gorgeous models. “It’s not about learning, it’s about playing. It started because I had friends who would visit me at the studio and they lit up. It’s a mysterious place. People forget what it’s like to be in an artist’s studio.”
Falconer is not about to forget the studio feeling anytime soon. She is in there, toiling – readying the 500 small bronze pieces she has promised for IDS West in September. Her graphic design experience is coming in handy as she creates packaging and designs her booth.
Falconer also has larger commission pieces lined up and a continued relationship with Buckland Southerst Gallery in West Vancouver.
What advice would Falconer offer to those who are thinking of moving more seriously into an artistic career?
1. “Take a risk. Do the work, get out and see what happens.”
2. “Get a studio. When I was a hemming and hawing, a jewellery designer friend of mine told me to stop talking about it and to just get it. It makes a difference when you have a designated space.”
3. “Keep challenging yourself to do something new.”
Written by Elizabeth Newton
* All Sculpture Photos by Lynn Falconer
*Special thanks to Hogan for posing for the header photo