Friday, January 7, 2011

Okay, shadowboxes are in my shop.......go get em'...........Please!

Hi Folks,

Well, I finally got my most recent shadowboxes in my Etsy shop, so pop on over and buy a few....okay?  LOL

As I mentioned in my last post, I just started on Lynn Steven's (my winter giveaway winner) sculpture, and I had only gotten this far:

So I worked for as long as I could yesterday (1.5 hours) and step by step I'm going to show you how far I got, kind of like a come along!

Okay, so here is the Styrofoam and wire armature.
As you can see, most of this sculpt will be
Styrofoam, and very light.

Here's the armature in relation to the image Lynn has
picked as her sculpt.

I get the 1 pound packages of "Paperclay," wholesale, and I only
open one at a time.  I then cut the block into quarters, and place it
in an airtight Ziploc baggie.  I only use one quarter of the
pound block at a time to prevent drying out.

These are the tools I work with most often.  I use a very thick
cardboard tube to roll out my clay, a knife, wire cutters,
pliers, craft knife, ruler and 20-22 gauge wire that I have
doubled and twisted for legs and arms.

I usually keep one to two "ice-cream" buckets, (yeah, we
eat the cheap stuff) of water handy for moistening the clay
as I work, and to wash my hands in between tasks.

This is a close-up of my most favorite tool, and handiest tool.
Yes, it's just a cheap ole' kitchen knife ($1-$2 in most grocery stores).
It may be cheap, but I can get a lot of dexterity out of this thing.
I use it for cutting, obviously, smoothing, extracting clay (cutting
away) while wet, and even for adding details.

I roll out my clay to about 1/4" thick, and depending on what
I'm placing it on first (i.e. the head to start with), I usually keep
the piece whole, lift it up, dip it in water and proceed to the next

I place the whole piece on the head part of the
sculpt, and then proceed to smooth it down.
Once I've conformed it, somewhat, I then proceed to
rolling out more clay and continuing the process,
until the figure is covered.
As you can see here, I've gotten most of the
body covered.  It's in a very crude shape at this
time, and I will continue working, and
smoothing with both my hands, and my
little kitchen knife.
Now, depending on the subject, I will either
continue to smooth and refine the surface,
or let it start drying, as is in this case.  The
subject is a chubby little snowman on a red
sled.  As we all know..........snowmen are rarely
completely smooth.  They usually have bumpy
exteriors and uneven surfaces, and so will this
little guy.
At this point, I will let him dry and crack for a few days, and then begins the real work.  Once I start "carving detail, and reshaping him (using my Xacto craft knife), I will then cover him with a layer of gesso and then proceed to the painting step.  At this point, I will ponder whether I am going to make his little ski hat out of a knit fabric, or clay, and decide whether to create the garland of holly leaves and berries around his neck using silk plants or clay.  I really prefer to make everything out of clay, but due to shipping and excessive handling, I will tend to go the fabric route just for safety sake.  I hate for my sculpts to arrive damaged, and detailed items like the holly necklace would definitely suffer in transit.

My next post will be of the carving, painting and finishing steps..........I hope you decide to hang around to see the progress.

Lot's of hugs,


Chicken Lips said...

This piece is wonderful Meri! And I love the new blog desgin - fantastic and fun!

Lynn Stevens said...

Hes looking so cute and how cool I get to see it being made to, Great tutorial, I may just have to try sculping something from clay someday. I adore it so far, Yeah!!!

Elaine said...

ewwwww ! He's so cute :)

Nan said...

very interesting Meri on how you do this, I actually never knew about this type process until Elizabeth posted a tutorial on making a little snowman with a foam core and air drying clay. I found out there is no air dry clay in this town I can play with and I can't get it shipped here from Amazon so I will look the next time I go to the bigger cities up the road.

Sandy said...

This was an awesome post.....I love all of the steps. I have never seen you do this! This piece will be soooo cute! Almost as cute as mine!!!!! LOL

NanE said...

Oh my gosh Meri, he is going to be incredibly adorable! I can't wait to see this finished. xxoo Nan

Linda Ruthie said...

Thanks so much for sharing the process with all of us. I look forward to seeing what's next.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Wowwwwwwwwww! I love that you shared this!!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

A Vintage Chic said...

What a wonderful tutorial, Meri! Love seeing your process!

Thanks for your visit and your kind comments. I have/had LOTS of ancestors/family in Arizona. The Great-great-grandparents I wrote about yesterday were Stapleys, if that rings a bell...they were fairly well-known in the Mesa area. Is that where you are?

Hope your weekend is wonderful!


M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

I loved seeing the process, Meri!!! I can tell it's going to be delightful.
Your new blog template is wonderful!!

Linda said...

Wow! what beautiful work. That snowman is going to look just sooo cute! I'm new to your blog and have just gone back on previous posts. You are one talented lady.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Cute~alot of work. I am headed over to the shop now. :)

Marydon said...

Too cute, Meri! You are soooo talented. I was absolutely amazed & still talk about your studio.

Do you use silk flowers?

Your parcels are enroute to you, should be there any day now.

Have a beautiful week.
TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

Kathy Cruz said...

Ah now I understand! So basically no kiln or heating of any sort is required when using paper clay??