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Ceramic Sculpture

Explore the virtually limitless world of ceramic sculpture. Meet the ceramic artists who bring clay to life in ways you may never have imagined. From the diminutive to the monumental, the figurative to the abstract, there are endless possibilities for expression in the form of ceramic sculpture. Browse through these archives to see images of the sometimes beautiful, sometimes unsettling works of talented ceramic sculptors and to find out more about their techniques and their motivations. And don't forget to download your free copy of Contemporary Clay Sculpture: A Collection of Four of Our Favorite Articles on Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture to see work by the latest and greatest new talents in the ceramic arts field.


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Marcia Selsor’s Tips on Obvara Firing

Posted On August 29, 2014 2 Comments

The Obvara technique, which originated in Eastern Europe around the 12th Century, involves scalding the finish on the pottery to seal the porous surface. Similar to the raku process, a bisqued pot is heated, in this case to 1650°F (899°C) and removed from the heat. The difference is that the pot is then dipped into a specific Obvara yeast mixture before being dunked in water to rapidly cool the piece. The effects are quite stunning.

 

In today’s post, an excerpt from her new video Raku Firing: Expanding the Potential of the Raku Kiln, Marcia Selsor shows how to enhance the effects of an Obvara firing by texturing the surface and then shows the exciting process.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Creating Expressive Features in Animal Sculptures

Posted On August 1, 2014 7 Comments

People have been using clay to tell stories since the dawn of history. Lisa Naples tells stories in both her functional pots and ceramic sculpture. In her new video, Narrative Animal Sculpture, she concentrates mainly on the latter, sharing all of the secrets to sculpting convincing animal forms in clay. In this clip, Lisa shows a great technique for an expressive mouth on a goat. So fun! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Coil Building Expressive Ceramic Sculpture

Posted On July 21, 2014 4 Comments

Ceramic sculptor Arthur Gonzalez was trained as a photorealist painter, but grew to dislike the control and predictability of that genre. So it is no surprise that when he discovered ceramics (not exactly known for its predictability!) he became hooked. He explains, “I can instantly materialize a thought and then destroy it if it does not deliver what I need.” This immediacy satisfies a love of exploration. In today’s post, Arthur explains how he approaches his coil-built figurative clay sculpture. 

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How to Sculpt Mammal Heads in Clay

Posted On July 18, 2014 11 Comments

Last summer, Lisa Naples came to town for a marathon week of filming two DVDs. The first one, Flat to Functional, was launched in March, and I am happy to say her much-anticipated Narrative Animal Sculpture, makes its debut today! As both an animal lover and a clay lover (not to mention a big fan of the lovely Lisa Naples), I really enjoyed this video.

For today’s video, I’m sharing a (much condensed) clip in which Lisa demonstrates sculpting a rabbit’s head – but as she points out, the process can be applied to all mammals with special attention paid to the unique features of each one. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Making Plaster Press Molds Using Styrofoam as a Building Block

Posted On May 7, 2014 6 Comments

I realized that we were really due for a sculpture post here on CAD, so today I am featuring the work of Christie Brown. This post doesn’t only pertain to sculpture though. Christie’s techniques could easily be adapted for functional work. In today’s post, an excerpt from Ceramics and the Human Figure, Edith Garcia explains Christie’s how Christie makes her molds from Styrofoam models and then press molds and assembles her work.

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Changing Spaces: Making Large-Scale Ceramic Sculpture

Posted On March 19, 2014 2 Comments

Today, ceramic artist Jason Green explains his process for creating ceramic work on an architectural scale.

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Egyptian Paste: Building Sculpturally with Color

Posted On February 18, 2014 4 Comments

Egyptian paste or faience is a low-fire mixture of ceramic materials containing clay, sand, colorants, frits, and soluble salts. These salts effervesce to the surface along with water as the paste slowly dries, forming crystals, which create a self-glazing clay-glaze hybrid once fired. Deborah Sigel was intrigued by the properties of Egyptian paste the opportunity to “build sculpturally with color” and today, in an excerpt from the March/April 2013 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, Mary Cloonan explains Deborah’s interesting process and beautiful results.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

 

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A Couple of Cool Clay Sculpture Techniques

Posted On December 11, 2013 1 Comment

The malleability of clay makes it possible to bend and shape in into any shape imaginable. But as we all know, this malleability can also present challenges. In today’s post, an excerpt from Sculpting and Handbuilding, Claire Loder gives some sculpting tips and shares a couple of techniques from two ceramic sculptors.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor. 

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Support Systems: What it Takes to Make Lightweight Wheel Thrown, Altered, and Assembled Ceramic Sculptures

Posted On August 14, 2013 2 Comments

Making thin, curved walls out of clay requires support throughout the process. In today’s post, Wouter Dam explains how he uses foam swimming pool floats for
support during construction, and customized clay supports to get the pieces through the firing.

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Making Delicate Porcelain Sculpture with Porcelain Slip and Flaxed Paper Clay

Posted On May 8, 2013 7 Comments

Helen Gilmour is interested in the relationships between traditional crafts. So she decided to make traditional pottery forms – like teapots and bowls – that look like they are knitted. The result is a form that at first glance appears soft, but on closer examination has the fired strength of porcelain. In today’s post, Helen explains the process she came up with to make these delicate looking vessels. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.