So today I thought it was about time for a clay day, time to create some little creatures. These are going to be pretty detailed when I am finished. Today I just created the basic body and face shapes, I will wait a few hours for the clay to firm up and dry out a little before I begin carving out all the details. I am going to fire them in sawdust until they are black then scrub away at them to reveal the colour of the clay. I am only working on three because there are a lot of hours involved with transforming them into little works of art.
I create my faces from a mould which I made out of plaster. I got the original face design from modifying a dolls face and casting several clay masks from it slowly carving and reshaping it until I got a 'basic' design I was happy with. I then recast that final face to create the final basic mould which I use to turn out my faces. I do have several different moulds with all slightly different face proportions.
To stop the clay from sticking to the plaster I use baby powder and sprinkle a coating on the inside of the mould. I then wipe out the excess using a dry paint brush, a technique I picked up from a ceramics class at university.
Here is a selection of different faces which were commissioned a few years ago for a boutique hotel. The client wanted to fill a specific bowl with the faces. All have slightly different expressions and designs.
I only create a certain number of masks each year, usually around ten, depending on how much time I have. As I mentioned they are time consuming to make and may take me three hours to complete just one. Then there is the firing which I do myself, which begins with the initial bisque firing done in a home made kiln followed by a second firing done in a pit. There is something I love about pit firing, it is like a connection to the past and your'e using real fire.
My masks have even featured in some of my scanner art photography projects. They are weird, ancient, some say cute, some say disturbed, but one thing you can't dispute, is that they are definitely unique. In this photo I look just as disturbed as one of my masks, LOL.