Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Clay Begins to Take Shape

Journal Entry - July 18, 2019
Compatriot Michael Tieman

Day Four

For those who may try to apply oil based clay to the foam. Don't, it won't stick.

Again, Home Depot has what you need, a roll of 6" wide gutter screening. The perfect base. Cover all of the foam with the screening then apply the oil based clay. I also use the screening as a base for fabric as it can be twisted and folded and retains it shape.

This type of clay does not dry out or harden which for me is great. No water to mess with and clean to use, and I don't have to worry about it drying too fast or keeping it moist as in a water based clay. And if I don't like something, I pull it off and redo it. I have gone back to unfinished pieces I started years ago, hit the clay with a bit of heat from a hair dryer and continued on. The oil based clay becomes soft with just the heat of your hands. I buy it in 10 lb. ingots from a foundry. It comes in soft, med and hard. The hard I use for detail work, the base is soft.

This clay is perfect for when I did demos in a gallery. I can work in a 6'x6' area in the gallery and I don't have to worry about people spilling water, or getting the clay on the floor, or keeping it moist. The galleries I have done demos in love it.

Beware though.

Don't leave your work in a hot environment. I had a friend that completed his sculpture, went away for the weekend to celebrate and when he came back the piece had melted. There was a heat wave that weekend and he had not turned on his fans on the sculpture before he left. I have had to put fans on pieces while I was working so it would not become too soft. I have also hit small areas with cold air in a can to freeze a portion so I can add detail.

Also, I reuse the clay from sculpture to sculpture. When a piece is finished, molds are made and the last piece in the edition has been cast, I tear apart the original and reuse the clay. Frugal. I guess there is a piece of all of my past sculptures in all of my future ones.

You will notice that there is a heart. I always start my people sculptures by placing the heart. It gives the piece a soul.

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