I have been wanting to share these photos with you. This is the commissioned piece I told you about here, and I photographed the stages of building that I went through when making this piece. I build these pieces out of solid clay, just forming it with my hands into the rough shape I am looking for. It helps me to be able to see the whole piece as one, rather than working from top to bottom or vice versa. Then using a wood rasp, I further refine the shape. Smoothing comes next, as the wood rasp leaves a pretty deep texture. I like to have the pieces relatively smooth even though I am going to add lots of texture. It helps me to see the smoothness of the 3-D curves. Then the fun begins. I get to start adding texture to the piece! I use anything and everything to make texture. No object is safe if it has a cool texture on it :) I use everything from cabinet knobs to chopsticks to rubber stamps to cake decorating tools. I have even used the bottom of my shoe!
So after the texture is satisfactory to me, I start to hollow out the form. I just start by digging into the back using a clay tool. Here you can see the pile of trimmings as I worked. I'm trying to get relatively even thicknesses in the walls of the sculpture. I try to get about a 1/4" thick wall or maybe a tad more.
I have rolled out a slab of clay for the back, and scored the back of the sculpture in preparation for attaching the back. Scoring it and adding liquid clay creates a sticky glue-like surface. Now I can attach the back and smooth out the seam.
I like to add a little keyhole for hanging, and then sign the bottom of the piece. Now the next step is to let it dry for a while (3-7 days), and then fire it the first time. Even the firing takes about 1.5 days with the actual firing and then for the kiln to cool!
I told my client that they could choose whatever colors they wanted for the finished piece, so it hasn't been glazed yet. However, I will try to photograph those steps and share them as well!
Hope everyone is doing well this summer!