So far she's looking good! I'm still not happy with how long this is taking though....
Ok, so these are not the most up to date photos, but they're the last ones I have at the moment! I'm going to be shopping for a new camera I think. Sigh. She's got a navel now, and most of a waist. I did a bunch of work on support inside, and reworked a couple areas that were not quite where they needed to be.
So far she's looking good! I'm still not happy with how long this is taking though....
Its not OVER, not by a long shot though! The 3 week temporary part time job helping a friend of a friend turned out to be an 8 week 50 hours a week job at the end, but that's done. That'll clear out a LARGE block of time to catch up on the stuff I let slide, like the yard that is horribly out of control, restocking the Etsy shop, painting the house I'm care-taking for, and getting a certain sculpture done.
I'll be posting an update on the sculpture soon, but meanwhile this is a blurb from the local arts blog, where they keep up with whats going on in the local art community! Its got some photos of me working on the sculpture showing a view I don't normally get. The photo links to the wildriverscoastart blog (if I can get the darn link to work!). My normal Saturday schedule has me teaching the pottery group Saturday afternoons, and for Art Walk week we clear out of the room early. This week however the Manley Art Center (where the pottery peeps - aka the mudslingers, meet) had no demonstrators and was featuring artists from the Azalea Festival Art Show. So, I stuck around to work on the coiled sculpture, and entertain the mobs while getting work done, with the excuse that I had some stuff displayed from my art show entries. I got a first and a second place ribbon at the art show, but out of a small group of entrants so to me the ribbons were nice, but not... overwhelming, if that makes any sense! _
Well, I've posted a few quick updates on Facebook over the past few weeks, but its past time for one here! I've been working on some internal stuff, thinning, fusing, and reinforcing, but that doesn't show in photos. Here's a slideshow of stuff that DOES!
I'm embarrassed to admit I really underestimated how much time this was going to take, between being able to use the art center fewer hours than planned, the day job taking more hours than planned, and the clay being soupy-wet out of the bag so it takes more working. So far though I think its going pretty well. She's about 10 inches tall at the moment in the front, the back will catch up soon!
Wow, can't believe I haven't managed to update this sooner, oops! Anyway, now taxes are done, some catch up on OTHER stuff is done, and I managed to get the camera out of the art center and home so I could download pictures... Ack!
The biggest changes on this batch are a bit more on the abdomen, a re-adjustment of the hip and a bunch on the back side!
Oh, and I've shifted into the back room, at least for a while, as I've picked up a few more students so I can't work in the class room with the group without major distractions. Its a lot easier if I don't have to clear the table after every session working on her! So you can see the progress, as well as a step by step on the adjustment I made on one hip.
A slight structural adjustment!
I mentioned the forgotten tape measure last installment, and here you can see how that turns out! I spent a couple hours today redoing so the curves are in the right place and the pelvic tilt is more in line with what I planned, but that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Its a lot trickier 'adjusting' this coiled style of sculpture than it would be on a regular clay sculpture because you can't just add or remove clay. I'm finding the only real way to do it is either cut along a coil line and add or remove a coil (or motif!) between the sections, OR thin it down from the inside to the point where almost all that's left is the front coil texture. Once its thinned down, I can push the individual coils around a bit, either working them out or in as needed, then carefully add material back in behind to support the coils.
Its a bit of a pain to do, but it can be done! Depending on what needs to be done, one way will work better than the other. This clay is very 'short' when it sits for a bit, but its very forgiving in firing which means I can get away with thicker areas and a bit of laxity in the construction methods. A BIT of laxity, but I still have to be careful! The clay is still wet at this point, but it gets STIFF when it sits so I can't manipulate it very well without it cracking. Then if its NOT stiff, its squishy which means I have to watch it so I don't mash all the details!
Ok, I'm a bit behind (groan) on posting these! Butt she's starting to come together! I'm happy with the front view, but not totally sure about the back side... I might have to rework a bit. Something about not being able to see it in the mirror clearly and getting funny looks every time I walk around staring at butts... LOL Oh well, I'll get it!
Finally, its starting to look like something other than a pile of bits of clay! Here you can see I've done the upper front thighs and the coiling is starting to get interesting. This is about 4 sessions, working for 3 or 4 hours then letting things dry some so it'll be firm enough to support the next session.
Next time the first big challenge of the project... BUTTOCKS! I've got to figure a support out and start working on the roundy-out bits. I'm planning to lay out my coils on the inside of a bowl so they'll have the right shape, and making the change in direction is going to be the challenge. Butt it should work out fine! :)
Well, I think we're there! I might bring the neckline down a bit more, it'll all depend on how the coiling works, and there might be a few differences between this and the final piece, but this gives me a good starting point to scale up from. This sketch is 8 inches tall, and about 5 inches across at the arms. The final piece will be built about 22 inches, then it'll shrink in the drying and firing process to about 20 inches tall. Basically the sketch is 1/3rd the size of the finished piece. I'll keep measuring and comparing profiles as I work to make sure I'm on track! Its very easy to get wrapped up in building the motifs then realize I need something else there if I don't pay attention!
This gives you a glimpse of my process. I'm building small motifs of spirals, little round bits, short chunks of coils, and long coils, then fusing the motif together so its sturdy enough to hold together on its own. Then I place it and fuse it into place! The motif above is a simple double spiral, and below a more involved 1/4 sun. Lots of room to play on this sculpture! I'm planning different feathers, a big tree on the back (wooo, that'll be fun!) a few vines, lots of variations on the spiral... all sorts of stuff! The clay I'm using is a sculpture clay, its a bit courser than I usually use but it'll hold up to what I'm doing much better than the hand-building clay I normally use. This one should fire out a buff color, and I'm planning to finish the outside in a somewhat neutral skin tone with a bit of ash to make it look like a stone sculpture. The inside of the neck will get a colored glaze, something pretty. The contrast should have lots to say! I've already built a bunch of sample swatches out of this clay that I'll use to work out the finish while the actual sculpture is drying.
Ok! Now you have a basic idea of what is going on with the coil technique! I'll do updates showing progress as I go along.
Ok, so I redid the shoulders and arms today, now she needs a bit added to the hips to match the shoulders, or maybe she just needs to be a bit thinner in across the back. It helps sometimes to sit back and look at the pics. Overall though, I'm pretty happy with this for a start. The clay was starting to get TOO stiff where I started (the legs and hips) and too squishy in the shoulders, so I've got her wrapped in a damp towel to even it out some before I go back and work on it some more.
The fine muscle details and such really aren't a big concern as the finished piece will be coils, motifs, and more coils and motifs. The SHAPES of the different body parts will show, but not the fine details. This is about 8 inches tall, the final sculpture will be done at about 22 inches, which will fire at about 20 inches.
I'm excited! This is a fun project! Even better, I'm getting paid to play!
Last week I was contacted by a potential client on Etsy wondering if I'd take custom orders. Well, certainly! A lot of my bonsai pots and planters are custom, sized or glazed for a particular plant or in a color to frame a planting the customer has in mind. This customer asked if I could do a large coiled sculpture in the style of coil work I use in the vases I have up on Etsy. She asked for a female torso, done as large as my kiln will take. I'll admit, I gave her an honest price after estimating my time and looking around at prices on other sculpture pieces at different levels of complexity and I really didn't expect the customer to reply because the price is... well, high. But she went ahead and ordered! So now I'm starting work on it.
I spent the first few days noodling over poses, looking for reference material, and working on other orders that came in before this one. I've still got a bunch of kusamonos (little decorative planters with sort of random shapes and colors, a lot of fun to do!) as well as a LARGE orchid planter (as big around as my kiln will take!) and a bonsai pot that I have to finish! The orchid planter is simple, its just 16 inches across when fired, so it has to start at 18 inches. Clay shrinks as it drys, then shrinks more in the firing process. The bonsai planter is built, drying and just waiting on firing and glazing, and I'll be working on kusamonos whenever I get a handful of scrap clay, just because they keep moving!
When I figured out the pose I want, a bit hip-shot but otherwise pretty straightforward, I started working on a 'sketch' out of clay. This piece is coming along very nice! So far I'm happy with the pose and the anatomy is looking nice, although I do want to dig out a reference and adjust a few things. Its done with coils, not the decorative coils, just smoothed so I can get the figure perfected. It'll make a nice piece for the Azalea Festival Art show if nothing else, although it might have to have a fig-leaf or three to keep the pearl-clutchers happy! :)
I'll get pics tomorrow, I forgot to grab one today!
Clay has always fascinated me, its many colors and textures, the shapes you can create using it, even the feel of it squishing in my hand. Even after years of playing in the mud I find myself exploring new ideas and I hope my work shows this.