Process

Piece is made solid, with external supports. I don’t like using internal armatures, so until the legs stiffen up a bit I support the body with a brick with a clay pad on top for shrinkage. The legs are just barely touching the ground at this stage. Other supports may be needed, depending on the pose. Chopsticks with a clay pad on each end work well.

The piece is cut and hollowed out, then reassembled. The fewer cuts the better. Join thoroughly, smooth, add a coil over the join, smooth, and lightly paddle to compress. When the legs have stiffened up enough, I remove the brick, and replace it with a clay post. The sculpture is placed on a base of similar dryness and lightly attached. Cover lightly with plastic for slow drying.

When the dryness is appropriate, detail can be added, and supports removed. Cover lightly with plastic to dry.

The piece has been bisqued slowly to ^04. Oxide washes and glazes are applied. I spray with a mixture of Gerstley Borate and OM Ball clay for sheen. Glaze fired to ^03.

I love to see how people make their art… the process of the work.  I’m self taught, which has its advantages, and its disadvantages.  I always like to share what I’ve learned, and appreciate getting input from other artists.  If there is anything I can answer about the process of what I do, please feel free to ask!

5 Responses to Process

  1. Anne says:

    this piece is lovely… i really enjoyed reading about your process… no armature, gave me something to think about…how thin/thick do you leave the walls? 1/2″? less?

  2. Glenda Ross says:

    What is the ratio of Gertsley Borate and ball clay to make the spray wash? Have you used it at cone 6? Thanks so much.

    • Hi Glenda,
      I fire this spray to cone 04. The ingredients are 6 tablespoons GB, 2 tablespoons of OM ball clay and 24 tablespoons of water. It requires only a light spray, otherwise it gets too shiny for my taste. If you wanted to fire it to cone 6 it would be glossier. you could substitute a cone 6 frit for the GB and see if that would work better for you. Sometimes I don’t get the sheen just right on tiles or sculpture. If it’s too shiny I spray with Duncan brand spray in matte. If it’s too dry I spray with Duncan in Glossy. Since these aren’t functional pieces it’s fine.

      • Glenda Ross says:

        Thank you very much. I hear and am told about using Gerstley Borate on top of stain to add a light sheen, but everyone who shares this tidbit doesn’t have ratios to work with and it has been difficult to find a recipe for it online. My bark like sculptures decorated with Mason stains could use a light intermittent wet appearance. They have already been fired to cone 6. I will experiment with re-firing the samples with a very light wash of your recipe and see what happens. Your reply is so appreciated!

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