I was commissioned by Omer Arbel architects to create a larger than life-sized, figurative sculpture for the new Herschel Supply Co. flagship store. Titled “Big Pants,” it is the 6-foot, white terracotta sculpture in the above photo standing among a family of other figurative sculptures.

From BC Living magazine:

It’s clear, this is an art-forward concept space. Scattered throughout the store are life-sized, figurative sculptures created by a variety of Canadian artists. All the pieces are incredibly textural and organic, such as the … female figure, … in clay, sculpted in five separate parts that were assembled after firing, by Ellen Scobie.

From the Straight: Herschel Supply opens flagship—and first North American store—in Gastown

The 5,000-square-foot shop carries the world’s largest selection of Herschel products.

There’s also a parade of humanlike figures exhibited at the front of the store—some sculpted from stone, some basket-woven, some carved from cedar, and so on—that Herschel commissioned from various Canadian artists.

Lyndon Cormack, who launched Herschel with his brother Jamie nine years ago, tells the Straight during a tour of the shop,

“It’s just celebrating craft … it’s celebrating cool, amazing artisans who are just thought-provoking, interesting.”

animated GIF showing two sides of a 6-foot ceramic sculpture of abstract female

Creative Process

The sculpture was hand built from 800 lb. of clay. The final size is about 6 feet high, 3 feet wide at the base. The body was sculpted in five separate parts which were then hollowed out, fired in a kiln and assembled. Plaster was used to bind and refine the body shape; other parts were chipped away by hand chisel. The creation of the sculpture was largely an intuitive process where I tried to be open to the creative possibilities in every decision.
life-size terracotta figure by vancouver sculptor ellen scobie

Artist Statement

This is a female figure. There is a waist. There are ample hips. More importantly there is attitude. She is in a stance of defiance. One of power. It says here I am. I am a woman. This is my body. And I come from the earth, from clay, I’ve been hewn from rock. She’s standing up tall, like a mountain. She’s strong. She’s bold. She’s pointing the way.

A sculpture of this size requires a team effort. Technical support and expertise was provided by my sculpture partner, Geemon Xin Meng, at the Vancouver Sculpture Studio. The sculpture was expertly fired by renowned Canadian ceramic artist Keith Rice-Jones.

See the sculpture at Herschel Supply Company, 347 Water Street, Vancouver, BC.

Photos: Ellen Scobie