As I build upwards, I smooth the rectangular coils into place. Sometimes I will need to modify the shape fairly drastically, So in one picture I have cut a section where I will be able to insert some more clay. Sometimes I need to do the opposite and remove areas.
After continuing past the neck, I need to make sure the clay is firm enough to support the head. This also affects the shape slightly and how far the jaw protrudes.
With the basic form in place, I let the clay firm up a little before refining the shape and deciding how to proceed with the facial features and details. TBC
Sometimes people ask me how my pieces are made. With regard to my busts I usually start with an elliptical slab and then go upwards. Like this …
This week I was invited back to Bath Spa University to give an afternoon presentation about my work to the new MA students and also to demonstrate how I make things.
I used the above image to start my Powerpoint presentation, as I always like to have something to look at while I wait for other’s talks to begin. The plan was to keep the talk quite short (20 minutes or so), and use the remaining time for making.
It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed describing how my zen rogue drawings (such as the one above) developed and then how I struggled to translate them into three dimensions.
I took care to document and show my explorations, possibilities and failures, together with the final ‘finished’ pieces.It is easy to find professional photos of artists’ work on the internet these days, so I wanted to highlight the other areas of the making process that don’t often get shown.
This point was made apparent to me not long ago when I attended a presentation by Philip Eglin at the Royal College of Art, London. He showed us pictures of his studio in various states of tidiness/chaos and also images of work that I have never seen published. This was a huge inspiration to me.
Due to the pressure of time, my hand building demonstration was pretty fast, but this was good as I enjoy working quickly where possible. In this session, I turned out a quick press mould that I used this year for my small heads. Then I made a few pieces from leather hard slabs I had prepared the day before. This was exciting for me, as I haven’t used slabs for a year or so, and I can really see this technique offering a way forward for my figurative pieces.
During the slab demo I found myself mentioning one of my past tutors, Mo Jupp whom I consider one of the most talented people ever to touch clay (within the range of my experience). I was reminded of him the other day when I came across this video on vimeo.
Hopefully I will get the opportunity to visit other places where people handle clay and show what this wonderful and versatile material is capable of.