In Summer 2018 we were commissioned by the University of Sheffield and Festival of the Mind to create a Giant interactive mouth to be displayed as part of an interactive exhibition about dental hygiene during festival of the mind in September 2018. The mouth was designed and created by artist Angie Hardwick. Below is a little bit about her experience of working on such a large project - a long with a sneak peak of how the mouth looked at different stages.
"The Open wide project has not been without it's challenges and I can honestly say I didn't know much about the mouth or teeth before I started - but I certainly do now!"
"I gathered a number of models provided by the University to work from, these proved to be of great support, simply learning the shapes of the teeth, where and how they are positioned in the mouth anatomically correctly was the first task. The majority of the sculpture is made form recyclable materials. 2 litre fizzy pop bottles were naturally a great shape for incisors and canine teeth. 2 pint and 4 pint milk cartons made the basic shape of the premolars and molars. The gums and the tongue were also padded out with plastic bottles of various shapes and sizes."
I found learning about the defects really interesting and of great value. The more knowledge I had about the defects the more equipped I felt, to be able to represent them correctly. Visual aids were also hugely beneficial. The positioning of some of the defects in the mouth were also problematic but by liaising with the University it was worked out strategically. Once all the defects had been added, the entire sculpture was covered in mod-rock painted and varnished I also used close up images of taste buds, bone patterns and a cross section of the tongue to add extra detail and interest to the model.
"What I've learnt as an artist working on such an intricate project is that I'm over critical.... I've picked faults at almost every stage of the process... and found areas to improve on. I think if there wasn't a deadline... i would be still there working on it today!! "
The mouth was made from 14 full bin liners of empty plastic bottles and five boxes of Modrock. It took Angie 20+ days to complete. Our partners said "The Mouth has exceded all expectations" and a gallery assistant said "This exhibition has been one of the most popular ever and the most photographed, so many people have wanted a selfie with the giant mouth!"
We are super proud of Angie for all her hard work on the giant mouth. I wonder what we could make next...