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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.


Two Simple Ways to Get Started on Sculpting a Bust

Posted On September 25, 2015 1 Comment
If you think sculpting a bust in clay seems like a difficult endeavor, you’ll feel differently after watching today’s video clip. In this clip, an excerpt from Figure Sculpting in Clay, Melisa Cadell explains two incredibly simple ways to rough out a torso. One starts out with a basic pottery form that everybody is familiar… Read More »

Two Ways to Sculpt Eyes on a Ceramic Figure

Posted On June 26, 2015 1 Comment
When sculpting the human head, Melisa Cadell starts with a thick cylinder so she is able to add volume and life both from the inside and outside. In today’s post, an excerpt from her new video Figure Sculpting in Clay, Melisa demonstrates two ways to approach the eyes when sculpting in this manner. – Jennifer… Read More »

Coil Building Expressive Ceramic Sculpture

Posted On June 22, 2015 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. 

Melisa Cadell Hand

Sketching in Space: How to Get a Quick Start on Sculpting the Hand

Posted On June 12, 2015 6 Comments
Figure is not an area of ceramics that I have explored much, probably because it seems like such an overwhelming endeavor. But watching Melisa Cadell’s new video Figure Sculpting in Clay, made me want to give it a try.   In today’s excerpt, Melisa shows how you can start off with a simple tracing of… Read More »

How to Map Out a Complex Wall Installation

Posted On April 29, 2015 8 Comments

Making a large wall piece out of hundreds of forms requires some serious planning, mapping, and methodical organization, along with a whole lot of patience and passion. But if done right, the results are stunning. In today’s post, an excerpt from the May 2015 issue of Ceramics Monthly, Monica Rudquist explains how she tackled such a feat (with the aforementioned stunning results!). – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Tips for Making Multiples for Ceramic Wall Sculptures

Posted On March 9, 2015 4 Comments

We have one of Lars Westby’s platters hanging here in our office (acquired as a Ceramic Monthly Purchase Award from the Strictly Functional Pottery National a few years back), and I love it. I keep lobbying to have it moved closer to my office (to no avail). Anyway, when we got it, I added ceramic wall pieces to my list of things I want to experiment with in the studio. Like many things, making ceramic wall pieces got pushed to the back burner, but now that I have seen Lars’ article in the December 2012 issue of Ceramics Monthly, I have a renewed interest. In today’s post, Lars explains how he makes his sculptural platters. 


How to Sculpt Mammal Heads in Clay

Posted On February 20, 2015 12 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.


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

Posted On February 9, 2015 3 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.

Tower of London opener

A Sea of 888,246 Bright Red Ceramic Poppies Commemorates Lives Lost at War

Posted On January 19, 2015 2 Comments

The Tower of London’s dry moat was recently flooded again, but not with water. This time it was with 888,246 ceramic poppies. Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, with the help of countless volunteers, created the epic installation commemorating those who served and perished in World War One.


For more about this fascinating and moving project, have a look at this excerpt from the February 2015 issue of Ceramics Monthly by Holly Goring. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


Creating Expressive Features in Animal Sculptures

Posted On August 1, 2014 9 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.