Sculpter Kate Denton talks about how she approaches her work, giving a real insight into her creative process for wildlife sculpting.

Capturing the essence of an animal

Having recently moved to Suffolk from London, UK wildlife has been an area of particular focus for me this year. I recently completed three life sized otter pieces, three badger pieces (a head study, a small badger and a life sized piece) and a life sized pheasant. Most of these will be at the Animal Art Fair (starting 5 May in Fulham Palace, London).

In all my work, what I am trying to bring out is the quintessential quality of the animal - whether the solid wildness of the badger, the irresistible power of the elephant or the speed and agility of the cheetah.

Personality not an exact match

To do this, I model in a range of different materials. Straight clay can give a totally smooth surface that emphasises grace and serenity such as a standing shire horse; add straw or hay to that clay which is then sculpted to follow the muscle lines and the piece brings out movement and speed such as an angry bull or a running cheetah. Modelling in plaster instead of clay gives a totally different finish. The plaster dries quickly and so the modelling has an immediacy that gives work an edginess, such as can be seen in the baboons.

Something for animal lovers…

The exhibition season is about to get underway and despite the economic gloom and doom, and the truly horrific events in Japan, the interest in sculpture in the UK continues to go from strength to strength, with an ever-increasing number of sculpture gardens and art events opening up between March and October.

Animal Art Fair, 5–8th May

Animal Art Fair is my main London show this year. As last year, I will bring a wide range of animal subjects ranging from the Exotica of Lizards and Lemurs to the "African Standards" of Elephants, Cheetahs and Baboons and, closer to home, both domestic horses and dogs and English wildlife.

All my work can be seen on my website, www.katedenton.com, which also gives the full list of my exhibitions for the year.