Creating the Statue

Hazel Reeves has now completed the clay version of Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy. This will go to make the mould into which the bronze is poured for the final statue.

Here you can see the clay Elizabeth:

Isn’t she brilliant? We can’t wait to see her in bronze, standing in Congleton!

How did we get here?

First, inspired by Elizabeth’s story and by all the comments and views expressed by the public and by local children about Elizabeth, Hazel wrote a briefing document to outline the thinking behind the statue and what characteristics of Elizabeth we might want to bring out.

Elizabeth’s Characteristics
How might she stand?

Hazel then tried out a few poses herself to let Elizabeth’s Group choose the one that seemed to evoke these characteristics. We picked the pose that we thought best fitted Elizabeth’s character and work.

Next, Hazel worked with her model, Rosie, who is a similar build to Elizabeth, and tried out the pose with clothes similar to Elizabeth’s.

As you can see, we felt that Elizabeth would not be standing about idly or posing in any way, she would be active, probably addressing some politician in an animated way about what she thought of his latest proposals!

‘Elizabeth’ in costume

You can see her heel coming out at the back of her skirt as she leans in, and her arms are raised, her face lifted in conversation; remember that Elizabeth, at 4’9″, was a lot smaller than the men she lobbied!

Next, Hazel created a maquette using a material called ‘clayette’ that does not fully harden, allowing you to tweak the position slightly as required.


The maquette

Elizabeth’s Group was thrilled with it! We felt that Hazel had already captured Elizabeth’s dynamism and determination.

This was very hot work and a challenge as the material stayed quite sticky in the summer weather! Please note that this does not show the final detail of the clothes, hands, or face or other details at this stage, it is just to show a scale model of what the statue and pose will look like. The final statue will be in bronze, like Hazel’s ‘Rise Up, Women’, the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester.

Here you can see the process of making the maquette:

Making the rough maquette

Next, using the maquette as a guide, Hazel created a metal armature of the statue. Rosie, the model, came to the studio several times to pose and help Hazel shape the armature. Working the metal is very tough and tiring work so Hazel was very happy to get it finished!

The Armature

Next, Hazel began to add clay to the armature to create a statue that will be used to make the mould into which the bronze is poured.

Hazel then put the finishing touches to the clay version of the statue, which is used to create the mould for the bronze. She worked very long hours at the studio and working across the whole sculpture, paying particular attention to the face and hair. Model Rosie attended too, in costume to help Hazel perfect the detail of the clothing. The eyes went in last!


The good news is, our statue project is now fully funded! If you’d like to donate to Elizabeth’s Group to help with the unveiling event you can do so here:

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