Fellow blogger, Deborah Woods of themudpot, suggested I check out Adrian Arleo. I remember the first time I saw a photo of Adrian's sculpture in Clay Times I was amazed. Adrian's sculptures are so beautiful. I'm real anxious to start on my sculpture, so I'm diving right in.
First I sprayed the clay slab with some WD 40 so it wouldn't stick to the bark of the willow tree. Then I carried the slab outside and pressed it into the tree bark. While I was pressing the clay into the bark, the willow tree was creaking. We used to have another willow tree as old and rotted as this one. Last year the other willow tree was creaking all summer long, then in September it split in half and fell over. I think this willow tree is going to fall over too. I decided it wasn't safe for me to be pressing clay into the tree. We've decided to cut the tree down in the morning. I have planted a couple of pear trees near the willow and I don't want the willow to fall on the pear trees.
I found a piece of bark on the ground and decided to impress the clay with the bark rather than stand next to the creaking willow tree. I got my two slabs all textured and then I roughed out the front and back of the sculpture. By the way, I've never sculpted anything before. All of a sudden I realized I didn't know how in the heck I was going to hold the clay up and sculpt on it? I've made vases by using a PVC pipe before, but the sculpture was going to have two legs and an uneven shape compared to a vase. No way to get a PVC pipe down the middle to hold it up temporarily. Maybe I could use some dowels. I tried using an empty cardboard container from oatmeal. Nope, that didn't work either.
As luck would have it, my classmate, Ed, the one who made my slab roller, came over to sand the edges of the slab roller shims (they swelled a little with the humidity). I asked Ed what he thought I should do. He said to use some crumpled up newspaper. After Ed left I crumpled up sheets of newspaper and taped them together with some painter's tape and made a rough armature (I'm learning) for my sculpture. If you look close you can see newspaper sticking out of the neck and some blue painter's tape in the belly button area.
I placed my slabs up against the newspaper armature and started adding and subtracting clay and forming the torso. The bird on the shoulder is for the starling mother who has nested in the willow tree. In the belly button I have one baby bird poking his head out. My sculpture is about 14 inches tall and 9 inches wide at the widest. Next, I took a photo of the torso, covered it and set it aside. Time for dinner.
As I am looking at the photo of the torso, I think it needs some more work. It's stable enough to stand up on its own though. Hey, sculpture is fun. Oh no, not another clay addiction.