The initial phases of building a larger scale ceramic sculpture involve a lot of technical adaptability and sorting out challenges. The beginnings of the process are not quite the moments of feeling your creative mojo flowing that we long for as artists, but the problem solving itself provides a level of artistic fulfillment.

Since I build these larger figures hollow, until everything is set up enough to support itself, there is a tendency for the lower sections to deform or collapse under the weight of the upper parts. Once the components are set up enough to support the weight, a challenge arises in the workability of the clay. The trade off for this stability means that it has dried a certain amount, so it’s less workable. It kicks off a bit of a stress scenario where I’m working against time to get the sculpture finished before the clay dries out too much to refine.

At the start, there’s also the challenge of not being able to see all the relationships of parts and proportions. That means that once I have everything together, I may need to cut the sculpture apart to make adjustments so everything “reads” correctly (bringing back the instability.)

My most recent larger sculpture was no exception. The twisted and complicated pose (which I love!) made for a lot of problem solving adventures, but with determination and focus, it all gets sorted in the end.

Here is a short time-lapse video of the construction of this 75% scale hollow ceramic sculpture. I still have more refinement and detail to add, but this gets me to the point where the fun begins.