Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sculpture Critique

I took some time to refine and texture my sculpture and to really look at it. It's not the svelte woman I originally drew in my sketch. But I wanted the sculpture to stand on it's own and to portray my feelings about the willow tree in my garden before it fell or was cut down. It is a rendition of the massive willow tree and what that tree stood for in our garden. So it is accurate in my mind's eye.

This is my first attempt at a sculpture and isn't that bad. To put it in the words of one of my classmates, Al, "It is, what it is". He's famous for saying just that when our pieces come out of the kiln, not looking quite like what we expected. It's too late to do any more refining on my sculpture since it's now too dry to work on. Hopefully it will not crack apart as it dries. I'm keeping it covered in plastic to dry slowly.

After I made my sculpture, I was researching how to build armatures and do sculptures. Perhaps the reverse of what I should have done. I think it may be better not to do too much research beforehand because sometimes I tend to over think the process. I came across this post by Frank Moran on Wet Canvas on how to build an armature. One thing I am kind of worried about is I read where the newspaper is supposed to be loosely crumpled and I crumpled mine tightly. Now I am worried when the clay dries it might crack as it shrinks. I hope not.

I also read about building an armature and sculpting a panther by Jen Pratt. She mentioned poking a hole through the middle of the thicker parts of the sculpture to be sure it survives firing. So I poked holes through each breast and buttock in case there are air pockets. Hopefully this will help it make it through the bisque firing. I also googled sculpture and found lots of beautiful sculptures in images. See some of Anthony's sculptures on Picasa. What beautiful forms and glazes.

While I was inside working on the sculpture, Gary was outside cutting down the willow tree. The willow tree was rotted all the way through. It was so rotted those large sections you see lying on the ground are light as a feather. He cut it down just in time. It's kind of sad to see it go though. Today the lizards were crawling all over the tree; now the lizards won't have the willow tree to climb up any longer. I see why naturalists say dead trees provide good critter habitat.

If my sculpture makes it through the weekend, I'll have to figure out how to get it to the school studio to finish drying. Have a good weekend.


  1. thanks Gary, I do hope she makes it through to firing. We are all our own worst critics.

  2. I think you're doing a fine job - and if it's your first sculpture, then it's also involves a learning curve. The next one will be better! After looking at some paper clay artists, are you using paper clay? It sounds like it's very forgiving and cracks can be repaired easily.

    I love the idea behind your piece too. It's always hard to cut down a tree, but sounds like it was necessary.

  3. Thanks Cynthia. I just used Rod's Mix clay, which has some grog in it. That's the clay everyone uses at the school, but I try lots of other clays. I used this one because of the grog. I just hope this one makes it through. Losses can be so disappointing and I think a sculpture which takes so much longer to make - would probably be a much greater loss to me.

    I haven't tried paper clay yet. I might use that next time I try a sculpture. I really liked making it and I can see myself making some more of them. I have another idea in my mind for a bird sculpture and I want it more delicate looking so I think the paperclay may be just the thing to use, thanks for the suggestion.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment