I thought I would have finished this by now, but there is still a ways to go. But I am very happy with how things have developed. Rather than simply increasing the size and amount of detail in this new version of the figure I was hoping to actually push the design further and discover something new in the shapes and forms. And I did! Hallelujah!
I covered the stages of the sculpting process up to now in my last post. This is where it had got to by then.
While I was happy with the increased detail of the whole piece, and especially the feet, I did feel that I had mostly just made it bigger. Something was missing, which in artistic terms usually means the complete opposite and that something needs taking away. I continued to work on areas that I knew needed refining: The arms, hands, head, face, and hair. The neck… Oh, the neck! Had such problems with that for some reason; No wonder her head kept detaching itself (see previous post). Shoulders, back, waist, bum, thighs, knees, calves, feet and toes. I know it just sounds like a list of body parts, but truly, these become things in their own right when sculpting them. The hair was proving tricky too, especially around the neck area. —
As is often the way the next step I needed to take to push things further came to me while I was half asleep one night: The shins had to go! It was the shape the knees and feet made that interested me, and I realised that I could more or less connect the two and remove the shins almost entirely.
One of the main reasons for wanting to make this piece again, besides the fact that the original was only ever meant as a maquette, was that I was keen to make the feet far more realistic while at the same time also being quite distorted. It took a lot of cutting away but eventually, and with a wonderful sense of satisfaction, I cut away enough clay that one side of a foot finally connected with the other side, and they became an actual pair of feet rather than only looking okay from one side or the other, but not really from all round. They were now completely separate except for where the balls of the big toes touch… just.
I got some help at this stage with removing the stick that had been inside the body and head to work as a support. Luckily it came out without any problems. Phew!
This is what sculpting in my make-shift studio can sometimes look like.
Isn’t clay gorgeous!
Finally started to define the hair.
Hands still need defining.
Faces are always tricky at this scale, and at this angle. Ideally I need to raise the sculpture to above eye level in order to be able to work on it comfortably, but it can get a bit unstable so more often than not I just kneel on the floor so that the table is at shoulder-ish height.
There’s still quite a bit to do, but it’s all just finishing off detail now, and there are no more major changes to be made.
One rather huge thing that does have to be done, and I may already have left it too late, is that in any place where the clay is more than one inch thick I need to cut out a ‘window’, scoop out some clay, and re-attach the ‘window’ that was removed. Scary, but it has to be done if I am to have any hope of getting the finished piece fired in a kiln. Clay can explode if any thicker than an inch, so not only would it be a loss of work, but it could also potentially damage anything else in the kiln. I’m still trying to find a kiln in the local area, and making contact with people to see if they may be able to include a piece or two of mine some time in the not too distant future. Fingers crossed!
Huge thanks go to @Anna_l_o for being my model, and for helping with getting the stick out. I would not have been able to make this without your help. You can see Anna’s blog here.
And thanks to you, whoever you are, for stopping by and reading.
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Have an awesome September everybody!