Sculpting is a great way to express myself, get energized, and be happy. Sculpting is a way of slowing down – you can’t stress the stoneware, so it is meditative, relaxing, and energizing. This kind of artistic passion is very important to share – there is always a great benefit to have and share your artistic passion along with your profession. I get very inspired and feel some connection of seeing other artistic passions of technologists in our industry.
My name is Anette Bengtsson. I am a Project manager, educator, and team leader. I have always been interested in science and maths and computers. I did my first homepage in 1998 and the interest continued from there. I moved to Stockholm to get more opportunities and challenges when it comes to work.
Outside of my job, I love to sculpt and go outside to find inspirations for my art. I do a lot of walking around the lake where I live. Then, I make sketches and paintings before I do the sculpture. When I first became interested in sculpting, I participated in a course and got hooked immediately. I felt that this is my way to express myself. My main influences have been my teachers Gun Engström and Eva Göransson, and artists like Carl Eldh and Hertha Hillfon.
I love to sculpt horses, birds, and people. I would like to think that the inspiration I get comes with a message to me – all the different animals or other sculptures tell me something that I need to hear or see. I care about our nature, animals and ourselves, and I like to express this in my sculptures.
The main equipment I use is earthenware or stoneware, a modelling stand, modelling sticks, decorating slip, engobe, glaze, different oxides, and a kiln. You really need access to at least a kiln, but preferably a workshop.
My process of sculpting is that I often find some animal and I do a drawing or a painting of them. When I decide to start sculpting, I use my sketch to look at when I start working with the Stoneware. I make a first model rather quickly to get the right form; it can take some time to get the right expression. I often paint my sculptures with engobe. I take at least 30 layers before that is finished. Then the sculpture must dry slowly so it doesn’t crack before the heat in the kiln. After the first burning, you use glaze and then do the second burning. The process will often take around 6 months to a year mainly because of the slow drying time. It is always worrying that if the sculpture may crack, but there’s also the excitement of how it will look when it’s finishes – you can never be totally sure when you work with living material. But I love it.
I have been able to exhibit my work a couple of times. The latest was I Stockholm 2011 – that was very nerve-wracking and exciting! But it is the best way of meeting people with the same interest. Currently, I am in the process of my new sculpting project with new material, and I have an exhibition this winter or in spring 2020. I have just started that but I am really looking forward to it.
There are many similarities between my sculpting and professional life. I think the creative approach and joy in creating is the same, and my problem-solving skills is a big portion of creative thinking. Sculpting has helped me to relax and let go of problems when that is needed. I don’t know if it is true, but when you work with both hands, the connections between your cerebral hemispheres increases. I often feel refreshed with new energy.
My advice to aspiring sculptors is to learn all about the material and some equipment depending on what you want to do. Get the right material and equipment for your sculptures. Find a mentor or teacher to ask because there are many tips and tricks and materials to use. Most importantly, express what you want to express.
Be sure to check out Anette’s web page to see more of her sculptures: