How the sculptures and structures are made

1. Working methods and materials

Hazzard follows traditional 'academic' sculptural practices and procedures to create his works. First, the subject of the piece and how its conceptual elements can be illustrated through the structure have to be established. Numerous free-hand sketches on paper are made at this stage until a satisfactory design is reached. Then the position of the figure within the structure is established. Now, the full-scale work can be started. In general, the figure and structure are worked on in unison, and the design of the joinery is worked out through further sketches. At the same time, Hazzard prepares drawings of the plan, and of the side and front elevations (as per the format of first-angle projections) of the assembly surrounds, which are then transformed into silk-screen prints. He also creates highly finished, full-scale pastel drawings of the figure itself shown in the definitive pose. While both the silk-screen prints and the pastel drawings are by-products of the main piece, they are very much works of art in their own right.

2. How the figure is made

A live model is called upon to adopt the required pose, which is then adjusted until the model feels that the position is comfortable and entirely natural for him or her. Interestingly, this process is similar to that sometimes used by the seventeenth-century sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini: Bernini himself would adopt the expressive pose that he wanted and have a colleague draw him from different angles. With Hazzard's works, once the required pose has been established, photographs are taken for future reference, as well as casts of the hands and feet in certain cases. A full-scale metal armature is then constructed. Although it is common practice nowadays to use a back-iron, Hazzard feels that its external post hinders his access to the figure. He thus prefers to use a self-supporting internal metal armature, which leaves the figure free-standing, analogous to those in wood used by Renaissance sculptors. The form of the figure is then roughly built up in clay around this. Constant measurements are taken to ensure that the proportions of the clay model are as close as possible to those of the real model, and only when this has been achieved does Hazzard start emphasizing and exaggerating certain aspects of the anatomy.

After the clay model has been finished, plaster waste-moulds are taken, from which the constituent parts of the figure are cast in white resin. Once this has cured, the piece-moulds are reassembled, a small amount of resin having been applied around the edges of the individual casts in order to join them. After these joins have set, the plaster mould is broken away to reveal the figure. Like most of his contemporaries, Hazzard casts in resin because of practical considerations - it is inexpensive, durable and light - but would ideally choose bronze since this allows the sculptural form to be read more easily. Prior to 1997, the white resin casts were painted with a terracotta wash, but subsequently, only the lips, irises and nipples have been pigmented for additional emphasis.

3. How the structure is made

Once the structure's basic shape has been worked out in sketch form, it is mapped out in pencil, in full-scale, on shuttering board laid out horizontally. Nails are hammered at short intervals along the contours of the pattern, and lengths of stripwood - usually beech on account of its flexibility and strength - are glued together and clamped against the outside of the nail guide-lines, and thus forced to take on the desired shape. Each structure is designed to be dismantled easily, the constituent pieces held together by removable dowels. Although it has been suggested to Hazzard that he make his structures from perspex, he prefers wood because '[wood] has long been used by man to manufacture commodities fundamental to human life, such as agricultural implements, means of transport and weapons, and because of this unbroken reliance, wood is perhaps more appropriate to figure sculpture than a modern, synthetic material'. The final stage in this labour-intensive process is to unite the figure and structure, at which point the sculpture may finally be appreciated as an entity.

Unlike those artists who seek the essence of their works through simplification of form and content, Hazzard's work has become both visually richer and conceptually more profound. His wooden assemblies have become more confident in their structure and symbolic meaning, as can be seen in his series of works exploring the interrelated themes of procreation and pregnancy. Moreover, he has experimented with new materials. In order to make his figures appear more 'real', Hazzard decided in September 1997 to use raffia for the hair of both the head and the pubic areas, rather than simply modelling it, since he felt that this more closely resembled the volume, texture and colour of human hair. It was subsequently replaced (June 1999) by hemp, which proved to be a better substitute.

In Twins, Hazzard wished to capture something of the vulnerability yet buoyancy of the new-born child, and so cast the pair of babies in compressed paper pulp, rather than in the usual resin. However, it was discovered that on drying the paper-pulp casts had contracted too much and were thus misshapen, and that the surface was riddled with shallow cavities. As a result, they did not harmonise with their mother, who was cast in resin, and were simply too fragile to be practicable. They were therefore rejected in favour of a new pair cast in resin.

Hazzard has also further explored the expressive potential and potency of colour. In Hermes (1997), for example - a traditional subject presented in an untraditional guise - he hung five differently coloured wooden slabs from the wings to 'symbolise those qualities in our culture, vices or virtues, which undermine or benefit human nature'. Such elements further augment the symbolism of the whole and the visual and conceptual feast that Hazzard is setting before us.