Figurative Ceramic Sculptures

My work with clay sculpting includes the heads, torsos figures, but also birds, and a few other animals as well. The techniques for building them may begin with pinch pots to create heads, and coil-building the bodies; it could be sculpting a bird as accurately and dimensionally in my ‘stylized-realism’.  I try to sculpt each one – one of a kind – with its own expression, sometimes a story reveals itself as I sculpt, other times planned out from a thoughtful sketch or drawing. 

Working with clay has its limits and expectations to come through the whole process from sculpting, letting the piece thoroughly dry out before being fired the first time, to oxide-staining them for their second firing, to deciding on the after-fire finish. The even distribution of the clay thickness is important to drying out the clay successfully. To accommodate that need, I build the pieces to be hollow, or may ‘surgically’ open them up to hollow them out and then reassemble. Still the first firing is the most nerve-wracking, as it’s never a ‘sure’ thing that it’s perfectly dried out. If it is not – pow! – is the sound one hears in the kiln as the pocket of moist clay explodes as the ‘water’ reaches 212 degrees F and needs to escape! Off comes a chin, nose, or the top of a head! Ouch!


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