The V&A collection is home to many beautiful objects in the Art Nouveau style from posters to furniture, and many fine sculptures, but when looking for inspiration for a Nouveau influenced stone carving this tiny French fin-de-siècle pendant demanded my attention. I love the exuberant, otherworldly serpentine hair with suggestions of the Medusa myth and I tried to make this the focal point of my piece. I was also struck by the profile, the hard features and sombre expression - this woman is noble and beautiful without being stereotypically "pretty". In my sculpture I wanted to echo those strong features and reject the traditional elegance of women in figurative sculpture. The naturally occurring layered colours of Ancaster limestone also help to give the naked flesh age and imperfection. Finally as a carving of a complete figure I wanted the whole composition to convey emotion - it's title is The Dream and the pose is almost that of sleep, but the hand tears at the hair and the sleeper's eyes are open..