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~ Materials List ~

~ Materials List ~

Note: These materials will be used in all Workshops
Clay 1-2 25lbs Bags of Terracotta Clay (fires in a kiln; Do not buy W.E.D. Clay it wont fire). Or NSP sulfur free Oil-based Clay (this is your choice, be sure to bring at least 3 blocks of NSP a tin bucket, Foil and a heat lamp to soften NSP.

Armature with baseboard: Portrait, Figure, Torso or Reclining (see picture examples)

Thin Plastic Bags or Saran wrap to preserve sculpture once finished

Spray Bottle for water based clay

Hardwood Modeling tools- bring what you have and I may have some for you to borrow.

Exacto knife or sharp thin metal drawing tool. (needle tools are not suggested)

Plumb line (optional)

Please come with your materials and Armature pre-built and ready for class. If you have any questions feel free to email Karen prior to your workshop. figurativesculptor@hotmail.com


Armatures are used to hold and secure clay in place and aids in proportions. They are optional but keep in mind, sculpting without an armature requires experience and presents difficulties while sculpting. I strongly suggest you work from an Armature.

• Portrait Armature
Portrait Armature

Portrait Armature

• Reclining Armature
Norse Wave-Maiden

Norse Wave-Maiden

• Quick Sketch (small) Armature

• Torso Armature A-frame, H-frame, Pipe armature or Sculpt

directly from the base.(runners are a must here)

• Figure Armature
-¼ Life-size Figure Armature
-½ life-size Figure Armature
1/2 Life-size Figure Armature

1/2 Life-size Figure Armature

This is a 1/2 life-size armature but 1/4 life-size is very doable
This is an NSP Oil Based Clay Kit. Oil based clay is excellent because its easy to take care of and will not dry out. It cannot be fired in a kiln but you can take a mold of it for a finished piece. NSP comes in Hard, Medium and Soft. Cut Clay in small pieces and put in a tin bucket with a heat lamp to soften clay. Do not over heat clay or it will turn to soup and will be very very hot. You want to just warm the clay for easy working.

This is Water Based Clay and the tools I use daily. I prefer to work in water based clay for my Half Life-Size figures and for Portraits. I really like the Terracotta Em 215 and the Grey 210. Water Based Clay has a life span so it needs to be sprayed with water and wrapped well in plastic bags to keep it from drying out. You can also hollow out your pieces and fire this clay in a kiln.

These are the tools I use on a daily basis. I really like the Tiranti Hardwood modeling tools (B10, B7, B5), a thin metal drawing tool, plyers, a plumbline, Calipers, a wire tool, a putty knife,a small hand mirror, and a wood block.

This is a Half Life-Size Armature with a laminate baseboard with 1/2inch runners under it. I get the Black "L" bar made and it holds up the Aluminum Armature Wire. You can make your "L" bar from pipes from any hardware store with a flange, an elbow, a "T",and two pipes.

I wrap the Alum. Armature Wire with 20 gage wire so the clay can grip the armature better.

This Portrait Armature is created so the post that holds the head enters the head at the same angle as the neck angle. Note: this is the orginal terracotta clay that I let dry out after I took the mold. See how the clay will crack if not wrapped and sprayed with water daily.

This is an armature guide. I will be bring this with me on the trip. This guide helps you bend your armature acurately.

Here you see several small Quick Sketch Armatures. I make several basic armatures to have ready when I do small compositions and sketches in clay. I use 20 gage wire and Double it up by twisting it with a hand drill. See pic below.

Twisting Armature wire with a hand tool to double it up for strength.

Securing Runners(small pices of wood) under the based board of any armature is recommended because it raises your piece off the sculpture stand enough so you dont crush your fingers when moving your piece.

Sculpture Stands usually are adjustable to raise or lower and are on wheels to circle the model. You see the Black metal stand I designed and had made and the wood version next to it.

This is a Desisti 1k Cam/ light for better lighting on the model and your work. Also using the spotlight on the model creates harsh shadows allowing you to read "the speed in which form travels".

A model stand is needed to lift the model off the ground so we can see them at eye level and will help in point of reference. The stand is usually 12 inches off the ground and approx. 4'x 4'.
This is another option for those who chooses not to work with an armature. This method is good when you want to hollow out your piece to prepare it to be fired in a kiln.

Posted by Karen Cope 17:31

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