Here are the steps I took to make Ophelia:
1) Make a slab - at least 1" thick for the base - This will be her 'footprint'
2) Roll large coils and start building the 'outside' wall - This will be her Dress
3) Attach your coils very well... using your fingers or tools; RULE IS: ALWAYS SLIP and SCORE (wet clay mixed with water - use like glue), but, if the clay is wet enough you do not have to slip and score. As you can see here. Just remember TIGHT 'CONNECTED' COILS MATTER!
Timing is everything with clay. I wait a couple of days for the clay (bottom of the dress) to get a bit harder and paddle it so the clay 'folds' like fabric. I continue to coil build 'UP' imagining a figure underneath and shaping the 'outside' of the piece. This is quite difficult but worth it as you do not have to hollow out and the piece is lighter. Upper half of her body is done SOLID.
After she is done (with head/arms) I added texture from a laser cut rolling pin. The wetness of the clay is very important - not too wet, not too dry so you are able to press the rolling pin into the clay to achieve this texture.
She needs to be hollowed out so I cut her in 3 places... Head is last (and only cut the 'crown of the head). Make deep cuts after you put pieces back together and press wet clay into the 'channel' you have made. I kept her in HALF for the ride over with my good friend Gail to help me.
Once she is safe and sound at Lillstreet Art Center, I put her back together using the method above. I add white porcelain slip over the enter piece using a dry brush (sorry no pic). Off to the kiln for first firing (BISQUE). After bisque I paint her with 'stains or 'under glazes' and wipe off with a slightly wet sponge. This brings out more depth of the texture.
I added 'Temokou' - a dark yummy glaze for her hair, and LOVE the results.
Photo credit (below): Doug Birkenheuer
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions - please email me.
Doug Birkenheuer photographs my work. He literally brings them to life - seeing them breathing through his lens. Here are a couple of shots from last night's photo shoot.
Adding to my love of sketching with clay, I decided to add to my small 'girls with an attitude' series.
Zena –the Warrior Princess stands proud and confident with her wing firmly and safely attached. Nuts and bolts trail her back as she patiently awaits her second wing, that will allow her to fly into the next chapter in her life.
'Morrigan - Goddess of War' (Great Queen) - 2014 - Collector: Kitty Wanicek
Making more torsos as I dropped off 12 for Studio b gallery's 11th season. I'm adding more and more color to my work and am fascinated with fusing new ways to get clay to look like wood. As I continue my aging series and love of corrosion!
Warrior woman has just entered the bisque phase. And warrior man is home. Very pleased with final results.
An artist can never have too many tools. But sometimes you just have to: 1) buy the perfect toolbox $12 @ Blick. And 2) Clean your tools and 3) throw out rusty crappy paint brushes; broken skewers; etc. Here is a before and after.