How to make sculpture art with Delene White | Colour In Your Life

G’day viewers, my name’s Graeme Stevenson, and I’d like to invite you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family throughout the world. Lots of times there’s an artist deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles, and mums and dads and come and see how some of the best artist do what they do. (Music Plays) (Graeme) Well hi folks. Well we’re in Canberra today, and we’re in Belconnen, and we’re in the – it’s really a workshop isn’t it? (Delene) It is a workshop. (Graeme) Yeah, yeah, cause Delene White, by the way Delene. (Delene) Hello. (Graeme) A very, very talented, a very, very varied different types of work that Delene does. I think the main idea of what we’re going to be doing today is some of your fantastic sculptors. But multi faceted and multi talented lady. You’ve got a Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts, (Delene) I have. (Graeme) is that correct? (Graeme) And what’s the (Delene) A long time ago. (Graeme) yeah, but what’s the D.A, D.A.A.D? It’s a German degree isn’t it? (Delene) Yeah, it actually (Graeme) It’s difficult, difficult to pronounce. (Delene) Yeah, I’m not going to try it, (Graeme) Yeah, yeah. (Delene) academic goes on, but it doesn’t matter. (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) It’s a German exchange program that they have (Graeme) Okay. (Delene) for people all around the world actually. We meet there (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) and do a language course, and then go off and study in a different part of the country. (Graeme) Cool, and part of your resume as well, is silversmithing. You’re a qualified silversmith as well – make some amazing stuff also, so there’s a wide variety. But I think Delene, your passion has really lent towards creating some pretty amazing sculptures. And today, we’re going to be going through that in your workshop, (Delene) Yep. (Graeme) to be able to put that together. Also, the graphic side of what Delene does, she’s a fantastic graphic designer as well, so towards the end of the show we’re going to come back and show you how she actually puts a lot of that together as well. And it’s very Canberra eccentric (Delene) I love Canberra. (Graeme) what you do. I mean you love, you love the place don’t you? (Delene) I do, I do. (Graeme) Yeah. (Graeme) It really is without a doubt probably one of the prettiest cities in the world; it’s a fantastic place. (Delene) Voted number, number three. (Graeme) As far as (Delene) in the world to live (Graeme) to live in, yeah. I think. (Graeme) I can understand why. (Delene) Come and visit. (Graeme) It really is a magnificent place. But we’re going to spend some really good quality time with Delene today, and she’s going to take us through these little maquette’s that she does. We’ll go into the workshop and then we’ll see how she creates all this stuff. It’ll be really interesting. Come along. (Delene) Lets go. (Graeme) Okay, Delene, well we are in your fabulous workshop; it’s really well set out. Now you’ve got a number of maquette’s that you actually put together in conjunction to building the larger sculptors in the end. And these are little bronze guys, bits and pieces of metal that you’ve put together. Can you explain a little bit more about the process of putting these together? (Delene) How they got to this place? (Graeme) Yeah, how we can build them from here? (Delene) Yeah, sure, sure. It starts off with a wax mould, I make the figurine in that in wax. Then you add a plaster mould around it. (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) It goes into a kiln, the wax comes out; the bronze goes in. (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) And from there, each one needs to have a different finish. So I thought today I might show you some patinas. This one, I’m a bit worried about pulling it out, because all of them have been soaking in something for four days, (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) and this one is egg. So… (Graeme) Is that because of the sulphur? (Delene) It is because of the sulphur. And so when I pull it out you’ll see this one… (Graeme) That has, does that actually stink? (Delene) Well it could. Well I’ll find out. So this one has (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) you can see like the beautiful brilliant green that’s coming that’s coming here. And this one started probably after an hour you’ll notice a difference with this. We might just put this one outside. (Graeme) It’s a little stinky is it? (Delene) Yes, it’s on the nose.(Graeme) Okay. (Graeme) But it’s the sulphur within the egg – the gas. (Delene) It’s the gas, so the gas is what’s turned it. So you can see the green and the vibrancy of that colour and it’s just beautiful. So again that would be taken further and finished. This one’s actually Fire. And then we have this one. This is ammonia, so it was actually clear liquid when it went in, now you can see it’s a gorgeous blue colour. And so this is taken, this is Wind. (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) So this is a really, there’s a really deep blue, indigo blue happening in there. (Graeme) Aha. (Delene) So, the next one is vinegar, red wine vinegar works quite well. This comes out the most gorgeous brilliant colour. Now that’s been in four days and you can only just see this really bright colour here. The whole thing will be this really bright colour. I think you can see here that’s some of the bits that I’ve got from the other ones. (Graeme) Okay. (Delene) So that’s the colour that it turns out – it’s gorgeous. This actually belongs… This is, this is the next big sculpture that I’m working on, these are the (Graeme) Okay. (Delene) mother and child. I’ll just put those back in there. (Graeme) In their suitable slots. (Delene) Yeah, (Graeme) That’s great. (Delene) And then this one is, this is the Mother Earth. This one has been sitting in bleach. So again you can tell that nothing has happened on the bottom here, but it’s the gases that have changed the colour on here. This is a much softer green. So I’m just going to finish this one up and to a finished state, so you can get an idea of that process too. (Delene) What I thought I might do is just show you a couple of bits cleaning up on the some of these. I’ve had a little bit of a go and we’ve had a bit of a polish, (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) but if you can get into here we can get this flexi drive. Not good for television because it’s so loud. (Graeme) You’ll just have to go up two decibels, that’s all. So that’s like a little rotary drill of some sort? (Delene) Yeah, it is. And these, the little bits on here you can get these from the dentist. (Graeme) Oh okay. (Delene) The throw away ones sometimes they give you and it’s handy to… (Graeme) Just incase you want to talk to the neighbours one day. (Delene) Yeah, yeah. (Delene) So now we’ll take it over to the big polisher and give it a whirl over there. (Graeme) Sounds good, absolutely. (Delene) So, polisher. These patina’s are not permanent, so you really do need to either keep doing it or there are, there are ways that you can make it permanent. Another story, another day. We’re doing some polishing so I’ll put this on. This is roush, tripoli we often use tripoli first, which just makes it a little bit shinier. (Delene) Alright, well we’ve got something, we’ve got something that we’ll clean up from here. (Delene) Delene, the block that you’ve got there, (Delene) Yep. (Graeme) and you’ve got two blocks over there. What’s that block of stuff that you’ve got is it something that you’re polishing with is it? (Delene) Yeah, this is tripoli, (Graeme) Okay. (Delene) and it’s a polishing agent. This goes onto the wheel here, (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) and it’s added on and added on, and the vibration, the friction gives it the… takes off some of the bronze, and we end up with it really shiny. Before, before this one goes on though, (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) there’s this one, which is tripoli, which is a, this is sort of bit rougher, but the ridge is finer – much, much finer. (Graeme) Okay. (Delene) And before that you probably have emery paper, and before that again you have the file where you’re going in with the file or the drill, like this one with the drill, so depending on (Graeme) Okay. (Delene) what you need to do. But mostly the form is there in these particular things because it’s there in the wax to start with. (Graeme) Obviously, but it looks great, I mean it really comes up quite well doesn’t it? (Delene) Well it will. (Graeme) Beautiful. (Delene) Lets go and clean it up. (Graeme) Okay, that sounds fantastic. (Delene) Alright, so we’re going to clean it up. And here we’ve got a little bit, it’s just warm water, (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) detergent, and some ammonia, and a reason to keep your old toothbrushes. (Graeme) And a really ratty toothbrush. (Delene) There’re perfect. So if we just get in here and take some of this off. You’ll see where the bits that are polished up. (Graeme) Oh yeah, look. (Delene) It’s always nice to leave some of the original there. (Graeme) And with these little maquette’s that you’ve got here, obviously they’re there to get an idea of where you need to go with the big ones. But you do, do a number of commissions for various companies. This one’s actually for a winery called the Tallagranda Winery (Delene) Tallagranda Hill. (Graeme) Yeah, Tallagranda Hill Winery. (Delene) Awesome shiraz, sparkling shiraz. (Graeme) But you actually give these away when you do your sculptures, so the maquette’s (Delene) Yeah. (Graeme) are part and parcel of the whole package when you create these before you move on to the wire, which we’re going to do in a little while. And then moving on to all of the other things that you do. There’s some sort of trade secrets that we don’t want people to know of course. (Delene) Of course. (Graeme) You don’t want to give it all away. (Graeme) But as I said, these are the maquette’s that go with the big… (Delene) With the big pieces, yeah. I think, you know, the big pieces – they are really big and they’re gorgeous. But I think it’s nice to just give somebody a gift of one of these that goes with the big ones. And then to finish it off, we’re just going to put it into… I feel like i’m on a cooking show. (Graeme) We prepared this one earlier on. (Delene) I will. This, this is the rock that she’s going to live in. This is Gaia, this is Gaia, (Graeme) Okay. (Delene) and she’s Mother Earth. (Graeme) Mother Earth. (Delene) And when you’ve got the contrast cause this sits in the rock so nicely. (Graeme) So what is the inspiration behind these two pieces? I mean is there a connection for you at all? (Delene) This is actually one of four pieces so they’re about the elements: fire, water, wind, earth. And it’s about coming out of our, out of our world into their world, into our world – our claimed world. And it’s just a reminder that we need to look after it, look after our world and environment, and keep it for our kids and their kids. (Graeme) Absolutely. Okay, now part and parcel of this is that we’re going to move on to how you put the actual structure together for the larger pieces. And it’s really putting the sculpture together with wire initially, and then from there there’s a whole bunch of other things that we do that we’re going to explain as we go along, and we’ve got images for that as well. But lets go outside and have a look at the wire, and we’ll go from here. (Delene) Lets go. (Graeme) Okay, well we are in Delene’s backyard at the moment. She stepped outside of her studio mainly because to put these together, they are so big. Now this is the maquette that she’s actually working on today. Well this is the Avery wire anyway, and these are now we’ve got the mother on this section just here, and this is the child we’re just going to be doing a little bit of work on now. But these are actually seven meters high, so to give you an idea, its sort of like I’m down here somewhere. So and I’m six foot, so that gives you an idea of how big these actually are. And I suppose this is about the only place you can really put these together isn’t it, is in the backyard? (Delene) Well, yep, yep, there’s enough space here to do it. And to move them around, this is really light. (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) It’s very easy to transport things around, move them if I have to. (Graeme) Yeah, and I think the fact that you put in the mythology into your work, particular with the earth based ideas, that’s what mythology sort of tends to do doesn’t it? (Delene) It does. (Graeme) Earth wind and Fire. So, but I also think with your career and where you’ve gotten to, is that a great deal about your success and where you are now is your family and friends. (Delene) Oh, they’re the best; (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) I’ve got the best family. (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) I’ve got the most supportive partner, smart, awesome daughters, (Graeme) Yes. (Delene) parents that have just been there forever. Family and friends you’d die for, like of course, there’s not many people that can get by in life without… (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) Well it just makes it easier. (Delene) And one of your great influences was your grandmother Pat, Pat Haygan. (Delene) Pat Haygan, yeah I remember going there when I was eleven, and she taught me some cuttlefish casting. So you the cuttlefish you indent, you put some – made a ring actually, and you put some matchsticks in it. Really basic, simple, melt the silver and pour it in. And you know, at eleven I just thought that was awesome. (Graeme) And even same with what your grandmother did there, I mean you got involved with silver as well, and won a whole bunch of awards with your silver work. You said that you had one called, was it, Cruet? Cruet, that was a commission for the church. (Graeme) Yeah, yeah, it was like the water in one side and the wine on the other. (Delene) Right, yeah. (Graeme) Then you’ve done little vessels, and we’re just screening these up at the moment as well. So your overall aspects of your abilities and your talent is really quite extensive. And you’re experimenting every chance you possibly can (Delene) Sure. (Graeme) with all of these different mediums, (Delene) Sure. (Graeme) which is what makes it special. So as far as this piece is concerned here, what do you need to do? I mean obviously the arms have got to go on, and you’ve sort of shaped it. It must be pretty difficult to do that in many senses? (Delene) Yeah, well… (Graeme) Cause you really, how do you form the features that you want just with Avery wire? (Delene) I want clean simple, clean and simple. Because this is only a third, there’s another huge extension that comes down the bottom. (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) And so looking like the maquette, so that it ends up in quite a small, quite a small base, but because there’s the support system between enables it to go into the ground, and be structurally sound. (Graeme) And this has a steel reinforcement (Delene) Support, yeah. (Graeme) going through it as well. So how, how do you attach the steel reinforcement to his guy here? I mean I know that you’ve got special stuff that you put inside; we won’t tell the world what it is. But how do you, how do you put the actual steel frame – the skeleton, inside? (Delene) Therein lies the, therein lies the secret. (Graeme) There lies another secret, okay. But in the end we end up with something seven meters high and looks like this. (Delene) And the, the finishes do vary on the location they go to. So if it, if it was in the middle of a shopping centre, it might have a mirrored finish at the bottom. (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) If it was in a rainforest it might have a moss you know, like some… (Graeme) It connects with the area that it’s in. (Delene) Yeah, it’s got to fit the environment. So you’re just sort of taking one by one. (Graeme) Just very painstaking. (Delene) Yeah, its pretty slow.(Graeme) Something that’s very (Graeme) it’s very meditative while you sit in the backyard. (Delene) That’s exactly it. It’s very cool, yeah. (Graeme) One over the other, one over the other. (Delene) So really it’s just piecing it all together you know, and sometimes it’s just wire by wire. But and you just sit, (Delene) you still get the shape, what a great place to do it. (Graeme) what a great way, (Graeme) you just sit, sit out out here listening to the crows, (Delene) Yeah. (Graeme) they’ve taking up your whole backyard. (Delene) Yep, (Graeme) Yeah, that’s fantastic. So the sculptures Liban and Gaia are actually installed at the winery. (Delene) Yes, they’ve gone out to Tallagranda Hill, and they’re both residing in a very beautiful location out there. (Graeme) Literally overlooking the whole of the winery (Delene) Yeah. (Graeme) cause they’re that tall. (Delene) Well, they are. (Graeme) Can’t miss them. And ones in a, is it a steel grey, and the other ones in a blue of some sort. (Delene) Yeah, its sort of a slate grey and a slate blue. Both really dark colours, (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) but they blend into with the, they’re sort of sitting in amongst the trees out there, and they look, they look really cool. (Graeme) That’s fantastic, Well done. Really just amazing sculptors in fact that you can do something that size, that always fascinates me. (Delene) So that’ll do us, eh? (Graeme) Cool. So well you’ve got such a diverse range of abilities, so we’re going to go back inside into where your computers are, and we’ll go over some other things that you do which I think is going to really fascinate everybody as well. (Delene) Musical chairs. (Graeme) So lets go inside again. (Delene) Lets go. (Graeme) Okay Delene, well as part of your artistic resume, you are a very good graphic artist as well. It’s really been part and parcel of your business for a long time anyway. How do you, and we’re putting up some paintings that Delene has actually done of a lot of the very iconic places in Canberra. I’m going to explain to you a little bit more about that technique, but how do you go about initially creating these on Photoshop or on the computer? (Delene) You know I thought this might be a good example to show you. What I’m doing is cropping it down to a smaller size, and then I’m going to take it into another program, (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) into Illustrator. So just got to love these programs, you just drag it, (Graeme) Absolutely. (Delene) drop it in. And this Illustrator has a feature that you can create it into like trace it and make it into sections. So in Photoshop you might have a hundred layers here, you’re only going to have a few. (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) So maybe into go sixteen colours, and you’ll see it breaks it up into all these… (Graeme) Oh, there you go. Wow. (Delene) Expand that and do one more, and just drag all of that over into this one over here. (Graeme) Yeah, oh. (Delene) So over here, we have what started off as this photo in Photoshop. (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) I’m just going to make that a lot bigger so that you can see it. Now also here I have got – these are some photos from other images that I’ve, you know, paintings that you’ve got lying around the place where you’ve got just good texture. So I’ve taken photographs of those. Then the idea is to take those and place them into these bits here, So there you go. (Graeme) There you go. (Delene) And make it bigger, and you end up, you know with part of your skies happening. That can go in there. (Graeme) That’s fantastic. (Delene) So if you fiddle around and you add you know, lots and lots of pieces in, (Graeme) Yeah, (Delene) you end up coming up with your finished, your finished one. (Graeme) It’s really a fantastically original style, and you’re using your technology background as a graphic designer, (Delene) Urging all of the, I like to play with all. (Graeme) putting the whole lot together. (Delene) Yeah. (Graeme) Apart from the sculptor, and the silversmithing, and the painting generally, you get to this end result. And you’ve got the Academy of Science is in Canberra. Remember, I used to live in Canberra many years ago, so I understand where these places are. Also, the War Memorial, which is one of our iconic sites and we’ve got two Parliament Houses as well now, (Delene) Yeah. (Graeme) so there’s a lot of iconic… (Delene) Probably, probably I think I’ve done a hundred. (Graeme) Wow, that’s amazing. That’s fantastic. So, and people down in Canberra just love these, they just think that they’re the best. And you sell these things left right and centre don’t you? (Delene) Well they’re also good in the corporate world for (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) graphic, you known for annual reports (Graeme) Absolutely. (Delene) and things like that; it gets a bit of interest. Anyway… (Graeme) And you’ve gone on to win a number of awards as well in various publications, and just a really, really diverse and talented lady. And we’ve had a great day being here. Obviously with the new sculptures going up at the winery. That’s, that’s just (Delene) Very exciting. (Graeme) yeah, quite amazing. (Delene) Yeah, I think my dream is, well the reason that I chose, I asked to come and do your show Graeme, is that for two reasons, one is to have a digital memory that I’ve got something in the library that is of me. And it’s… (Graeme) That’s a great point. (Delene) and of the digital mediums, because in ten years time this will be really funny. (Graeme) Yeah, they might be taking it very seriously too. But I think the other thing you wanted to bring up. (Delene) The second one was the earth mothers, (Graeme) Yeah. (Delene) and to see if I can get those happening globally. (Graeme) Yeah, and they really are poignant, I mean as you said before, we are changing the world quite rapidly in many, many ways that we shouldn’t be. And Delene is really making us aware that we do have a connection between human beings and the planet, and her sculptures are absolutely fantastic in doing that, (Delene) Thank you. Thank you. (Graeme) so very well done. Also, the winery as well. (Delene) Yeah, Tallagranda Hill, (Graeme) yeah. (Delene) Liban and Gaia up there at the moment, holding their ground. (Graeme) Yeah, but to thank the winery as well, because they got right behind you also. (Delene) They did, they did. (Graeme) And also as we discussed before hand, your family, your beautiful girls, and your wonderful partner Linda. You’ve got some fantastic people in your life. And art cannot be possible sometimes without the support of friends and family, so it’s extremely important that we have that surrounding us. I mean that sense of love and commitment to us while we create is extremely important. So all of those family and friends that support the arts, we really thank them a lot – absolutely. Okay, what a fascinating day, and Delene, thank you so much. (Delene) Thank you. (Graeme) It’s been just amazing, (Delene) It was lovely. (Graeme) it really has. If you would like to see these sculptures, you can go out to Tallagandra Winery, is that correct? (Delene) Correct. (Graeme) Tallagranda Winery in Canberra. (Delene) Tallagandra Hill. (Graeme) Tallagranda Hill Winery, they’re fantastic. Great, great, great day, I mean absolutely amazing. (Delene) Great grapes too. (Graeme) Great grapes? (Delene) Great grapes. (Graeme) Great wine as well. But fantastic lady – very, very versatile. Your website address is? (Delene) Delene dot com dot au. (Graeme) Fantastic, and we really enjoyed ourselves being in Canberra, some amazing people down here. Don’t forget, come and see us in colour in your life dot com dot au. (Delene) Thank you. (Graeme) And also Facebook, and also YouTube, Twitter, and a whole bunch of other things that we’re on these days. We’ve got some other exciting news coming up that we want to tell you about too later on. But we hope you’ve enjoyed the time with Delene, and remember as we always say: make sure you put some colour in your life, and we’ll see you next time. Bye now.


  • Yulia Pomarina

    Amazing and inspiring – Thank you

  • Maria Kellner

    Delete, so wonderful and versatile, your work is inspirational tfs

  • Claudia Alexander

    Gorgeous work! Thank you for sharing your talent.You are amazing!!!

  • Julie Whitehead

    What a wonderful, inspirational and talented lady. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Hannah Schadel

    Wow….amazing interview Delene! You are such a natural on camera & an amazing & talented artist.

  • Eva van Gorsel

    wau, Delene, your work is so stunning. I'm so glad I saw the sculptures, where they now live, in life size – they look so impressive and beautiful. Whoever gets the chance to go and see them should do so! And your other works are so amazing too….

  • Rhonda Willington

    What a gorgeous woman Delene is, she has such warmth and enthusiasm and a wonderful bubbly personality. Her Artwork is just beautiful, I especially love the sculptures. Thank you a great show.

  • catafinity


  • Third Dimension Jewellery

    "How To Draw a Bird?" Not quite sure where the title comes from, but interesting episode, anyway.

  • Donna Puentez

    Mr. Stevenson, I absolutely love watching your show. I find it extremely inspiring, informative and just outright therapeutic. Thank you for all you do for us fellow artists.
    Now having said that, with all due respect, I have a favor to ask. Could you please use the phrase "part and parcel" a bit more sparingly. Here lately, I find myself counting the times you use the phrase rather than enjoying the fabulous programming. Who knows, maybe I am just hopelessly OCD but it truly gets to me at times. I hope and pray that I have not offended you in any way and want you to know that with all sincerity, I tell you, I'm one of your biggest fans. I pray for your safety in your travels and interviews. And hope to see many many more of your programs. Thank you so much.

  • 4PAWS

    I hope all your dreams come true and your Earth Mother's are scattered through out the world to carry your message, they are truly beautiful sculptures and are an important message to remind us to love and take care of our environment. Thank you for sharing, truly and inspiration that creativity and art can carry a powerful message to touch the many 🙂

  • Roni Bancroft

    a wonderful inspiration


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