Marcia Kuperberg: artist - Oils, acrylic, watercolour, mixed media. Miniaturist. Ceramicist

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Full size clay head: HELP!

Here he is, now well on the way. I've modelled him around a glass cylindrical vase in order to keep the head hollow. It really does look like Louis, down to the half smile, the hooded eyes and the dimple in the chin. 

BUT, a big but, how to remove the vase? It should slide out as I covered it in newspaper before putting on the clay, and have waited until the clay is 'leather hard' before trying to remove it, but … of course the vase is stuck solid. If I keep trying to remove it, I'm in danger of distorting or breaking the head - so, following advice from Jo, my ceramics tutor, I'll make two length way cuts, one behind each ear (bit like a brain surgeon) to separate front from back of the head. Then I'll remove the vase, stuff the inside of the head right up to the top with newspaper to support it, and fit the pieces back together. 

There's a special technique to doing this, involving scratching the joins to create a suitable rough surface, applying a creamy clay (called slurry) to the edges to stick together, and then applying clay on  top to disguise the joints.

Full size clay head, modelled around a vase to keep it hollow.After that, will come the difficult part of constructing the top scalp, supported by newspaper stuffed underneath. Here goes . . .

7 Comments to Full size clay head: HELP!:

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Gina on 07 January 2014 14:36
This is scarily like Dad….ahhh. How strange to see his familiar head in this form! It's completely amazing. What's your plan after. Will you paint his face life-like? Or an all-white look?
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Marcia on 08 January 2014 12:35
So glad you can see the likeness, Gina. The plan after is probably to make a complete shiny white china head, but firstly I'll glaze the mini heads in two different ways to see which looks best. I've now rescalped him after releasing the head from the centre vase. I'll post to show it.

Devi on 07 January 2014 18:38
So incredible! Good luck with the next stage!
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Marcia on 08 January 2014 12:38
I've successfully completed the next stage, which was to release the head from the central vase. To do so, I had to operate by using a scalpel to cut behind each ear, release the clay, remove the vase, and then carefully rejoin the pieces and finally to make his scalp.

Gilda on 08 January 2014 01:53
You really have Louis to a tee. Many congratulations, Marce. It is quite incredible.
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Marcia on 08 January 2014 12:44
Thanks, Gil. Getting him to sit for me is the greatest problem. No matter how many photos I take from a variety of angles, there's nothing like the live head! He now has a scalp, I'm pleased to say.

Marcia on 02 February 2014 11:28
Hi Leather pieces, glad that you may be interested in my subject but when the clay becomes "leather hard" it means that it can be carved with sharp edged tools - it does not suddenly magically become a Leather Piece! So, spam or not, thanks for your comment!
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