Monday, June 4, 2012

Journey to Mud

After much resculpting and brain sweats, I am pleased to share the final versions of my two classic scale stock horse meditations. I don't write many posts about my own ceramics here, but everything flows together, between old and new, when one is working (and thereby, living) in this pottery tradition. It's going to keep coming up.

In the last update on this sculpture, I shared the many versions of heads this sculpture has sported. When the body "tried on" a resin casting off of the new brown clay original Mustang head, it looked too big. I made a plaster pottery mold off the brown clay to generate a smaller bisque copy of the head. This worked beautifully! Every detail is sharp and the size is nice without sacrificing his Mustang "log head" look.

Shrunken head.

Because I didn't want a size difference between the two full body versions, I cut off the sculpey Ratrod's head and put the Mustang face in its place. When the bisque head replaced the resin, the mane and tail work began. Confession: I despise manes and tails, in life and in art. My favorite real breed is the Fjord, which is a delight both practically and aesthetically: one keeps the mane hogged (cut so short as to stand upright). I spent many happy hours trimming my Fjords' manes in both Norwegian cultural and non-traditional styles (shark teeth!). The breed also has a thick tail that can do that beautiful "cording" or "dredlock" effect. In short, I like hair to look architectural and orderly, and not wispy and flying everywhere... which is the kind of hair I have, of course. On a Mustang in action, I am challenged with not only depicting lots of hair, going every-which-way, but it also has to be relatively easy to mold for ceramic production and be mostly up off the neck, for replicable  production paintwork.

First try.

Second try.

Third try, pieces missing yet.

As with the heads, fourth try is the charm!
This is "Silverheels".

How I love a little chunkster of a feral horse. The chunkier, the better!

Hair is blown off the neck clean on this side, making decoration or masking of the ware simple for production color.
I love the expression here: pursed lip, kind eyes, and ears trying to scope all sounds, all around.

A little bit challenging to glaze on this side, but makes for gorgeous color contrast, too.
'Cause, I already see him glazed in my head.

The Appaloosa "Ratrod" and the Mustang, "Silverheels", were sculpted for a client. She has already made the first ceramic test for a proposed OF (production) run. This is glazed and produced by Marge Para, a ceramist who constantly pushes and improves her techniques. The hoof glaze detail work alone is ambitious for OF. I'm so proud to see her current glazing on this fellow. Look at that snowflake!

Glazed test Ratrod and photos by Marge Para.

This is the scoop direct from Marge:

"...OF very similar to the above photos, a tribute to my husbands first horse, lots of fond memories of that little buckskin Appaloosa. I am not sure if I will have any OF's at Breyerfest, I'll be at the Artisan Gallery at the C/HIN with some, they may be OOAK colors. But he'll be there for sure!"

For those attending BreyerFest, and planning on visiting the Artisans' Gallery, Marge's table is right next to mine, at the counter-tops on the left, as you enter the ballroom at the Clarion (HIN).

What a journey these two sculptures have been! They certainly left their hoofprints on me, testing and pushing me to grow.

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