Dress: Roksanda Ilincic
A few months ago, I finally got round to playing with a figurative sculpture set my boyfriend had gifted me from The Sculpture Studio. It was the second time I had tried using clay – the first being as a teen in school – and it was a somewhat surreal experience. Working in 3D is very different to 2D. In 2D there is usually not much room to make significant changes, but in 3D it’s relatively easy to add and subtract and even completely change the direction of the work. I found the process to be surprisingly natural, and the end result sort of just emerged from the clay rather than having been planned. The sculpture set contains air-drying clay, a rotating wheel and armature and I already had some clay shaping tools (loop tools: 1, 2, 3, and detail tools) I bought a few years ago for pumpkin carving.
This was the first time I had tried air-drying clay and as it dried fairly quickly I worked on the sculpture for about 3-4 evenings. In between sessions I misted it with water and kept it under a plastic bag to prevent it completely drying. Towards the end the clay had become quite dry and brittle so I ended up refining details by scraping away with my tools.
I didn’t have any knowledge of air-drying clay prior to this. Val from The Sculpture Studio kindly advised me when I had questions, and I had a few! Two things I hadn’t expected were that large cracks would form and the clay needed sealing as it produces harmful particles when dry. After a month of drying, I filled in the cracks with some leftover clay although small cracks are still present today. I liked the natural look of the clay so I sealed it with water + PVA glue mix, but I applied too many layers and it ended up being shinier than I had wanted. All lessons learned! The last step remains which is to mount the sculpture onto a stand, although not sure when I’ll get round to that…