Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Figure Sculpting

Last month I took at 4-session figure sculpting class at Pratt with Jeanne Ferraro. Ferraro is a Seattle artist and teacher who works in media ranging from clay, iron, and hot glass to charcoal, pencil and pastel.

Although I've been doing figurative work for a while now, I learned a great deal! During the first session we agreed on a pose and set to work building stick figure armatures out of plumbing pipes and twisted wire; because the wire is so flexible, limbs can be repositioned even after they're covered in clay. Putting on the first layer of clay was hugely fun and involved spanking the lumps with a chunk of wood until they took on some degree of form.

Then, the hard part: aiming for accuracy. We spent the better part of three classes circling the model like sharks, squinting as we measured parts of her body against our developing forms, carving off bits here and adding blobs of new clay there.

And before any of us were quite ready, we were done. Four sessions is not a lot of time! Some of my classmates will continue to work on their sculptures, and a few might even take molds and copy their forms in more lasting materials like resin or bronze. Mine is gracefully disintegrating on the deck.

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