The Malta Independent 29 September 2022, Thursday
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Diary by AMELIA SAINT GEORGE: The pleasures of being a sculptor

Sunday, 14 August 2022, 09:18 Last update: about 3 months ago

AMELIA SAINT GEORGE has made Valletta her home, having previously lived in London and Aix-en-Provence. She is an established contemporary sculptor of animals and wildlife, and is also renowned for her works in miniature as well as portraiture. Her sense of humour comes to the fore even in some of the more playful sculptures that are on view at The Phoenicia Malta. She is also the author of several books on diverse subjects and holds sculpting lessons in her studio in Valletta. She has exhibited her sculptures locally and internationally and has been awarded international prizes.

“As a very dyslexic child, at school one of my small pleasures was art and then clay, my only Distinction at O level.

I once modelled for a sculpture class, and was later encouraged by the students to have a go, so taking clay back home sculpted my six-year-old son’s head. I still have the sculpture with all its faults and now regally show my first attempt at the sculpture classes I give today.

I am a good teacher because I’m dyslexic, so I do not presume previous knowledge. As I have had to be very patient and persevering with my own learning, I am very encouraging with others. I watch carefully what they are doing, I let them correct their own mistakes only helping when necessary.

Some of the students that I have now taught/worked with have created exceptional works. One of my students is in her late 80s and the youngest was sixteen, so creating is a lifelong pursuit.

My studio is in Valletta where I have now been for sixteen years. I enjoy Malta and cannot imagine returning to England or France where I have family but no life. Life is the most important. Valletta has everything I need: Spazju Kreattiv is exceptional with The Met Opera and National Theatre and Ballet transmissions, also the art house cinema and art exhibitions. I am a regular at The Manoel Theatre that has a diverse programme throughout the year. There’s Valetta Contemporary and the Malta Society of Arts, and I look forward to MICAS that is about to open, to name a few regular things I do.

Then, when I go to visit my children in Paris they fill me in with all the exhibitions I should pop in and see. And then there’s London, my old haunt, where I thoroughly enjoy myself.

Clay is a wonderful medium to work in, it is so forgiving, inexpensive, versatile, and natural. Clay can be formed into the most intricate head to the smoothest contemporary abstract form. My work has changed over the years, my love of animals and the accurate working on portraits have been the bulk of my work for many years. I have exhibited worldwide and achieved First Prize in Washington DC, also Florida, Paris, London and Canada.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, I have stopped sending my work to international exhibitions as now everything is online, which is not so helpful for sculpture as it is so tactile.

When I first arrived in Malta I sculpted a lot of children and adults which is a very good way to get to know people, having good conversations about Malta and the different way it works to other countries. The children have now grown into young adults; time passes, but the sculpture busts freeze a moment in time.

I have equally completed busts from photographs of relations no longer alive. This is always a moment of reflection: going through all the family photos and talking about the person’s character. I always like to find a photo of a profile which is often very difficult, as it helps me considerably in capturing the accuracy of a likeness. All clay busts can be taken through into bronze using the lost-wax process, an ancient technique which is, regrettably, rather expensive. 

It has been good to step back because of Covid-19. It has allowed me to play with different forms. I have been focussing on women’s and men’s bottoms, shaping women’s forms into vases and other abstract works.

A change in my life has allowed me to reflect on my female changing form and all the body shapes that women’s bodies take over the passing years.

Malta has so much to offer and creating in clay is challenging, fun, and very rewarding. I look forward to meeting you.

Come and join me at The Phoenicia Malta. I shall be there until the end of September. Come and talk, explore and even pick up some clay. Follow me on Instagram: @amelia_saint_george_sculpture, or onwww.ameliasaintgeorge.com.


This series is conceived and edited by Marie Benoît who contributes her own Diary occasionally. [email protected]

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