Held - PaperClay.jpg
 Convent in Orvieto

Convent in Orvieto

 Kathe Kollwitz

Kathe Kollwitz





Whenever I think about ClayPlay, I automatically think about 3D sculpture but when I was in Italy now I couldn't believe how much of it was actually flat 3D.  I don't know how else to call it.  I guess it's sculpting out a form as opposed to building something from scratch.  I find it equally emotive and beautiful.

I am a little intrigued to give it a bash.

Finding Emotional Tenderness in your Clay

Through the use of gestures, tilted heads and placements of hands, tender emotions can be found in your clay figurines.  Even with simple faces and elements so many emotions can be reached.

Sometimes I can already start seeing that in my armature.  The challenge is then to see if you can capture it in your clay and if you can go on to do that with your paint.


Lesson 1 - Finding Tenderness in your Clay - Building your Armature

I love how my own emotions tend to fall out during this kind of creative play and get mingled in with my clay.  They seem to capture and hold them in their own special way and then get to leave you with their own special interpretation of it all.


Lesson 2 - Finding Tenderness in your Clay - Putting on your Clay Suit

The only way to learn this medium is through playing and experimenting with it.  Have a few failures and have your victories.  Figure out what works and what doesn't.  What I love about this medium is that we will all have our own unique journey because we are all using different clays in different climates so ultimately you have to figure out what will work for you.  It really is worth the journey.  My first few years and pieces were dismal but after repetitive attempts I started to figure out my own way and it's definitely a journey I'm still on.


Finding your Soul

Some tiny cracks appeared in the drying process so I used a terracotta clay to fill in the gaps.  When I started painting her face I really struggled with her mouth and I thought I had made a mistake by making a little open mouth in the clay but after a while, I managed to get painting her sweet mouth right.

I have put the video in speed mostly because there is hours and hours of footage that I have to narrow down to a fairly interesting piece of video.  Let me know if there is anything you would like to see in more detail. I find that when I paint my SoulBearers, I tend to go over and over and around and around.  Putting down my cast shadows and laying down my highlighted areas and the constant push and pull between these two zones.  Often I get back to the neutral zone and then I have to start all over again.  I do find that the face eventually does come forward when it's ready and I have found that the more layers make a more finished product.


So don't be afraid to use your paint generously.



Lesson 3 - Finding Tenderness in your Clay - Finding your Soul

Music - Winter Song - Sara Barflies & Ingrid Michaelson, The Only Fault - Rachael Yamagata, This Woman's Work - Kate Bush, Speaking a Dead Language - Joy Williams, End Credits (Pride and Prejudice)


Be Inspired

I found this incredibly powerful statue in Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy and it was love at first sight.  I know I will never be able to replicate this but it's definitely a beautiful point of reference.


"... and it remained a moment so, happy and thoughtful.  Against the flashing background of white scribbles and of abyss, as if the beauty of the face of a woman descending into the heart of a man, is one of the hardest things to die from in this short fleeting life."


The quote on this statue is in Italian and I had to use Google Translate to help me find it's meaning.  I do believe it's talking about Civita di Bagnoregio than the statue but it's really beautiful.


Lesson 4 - Finding Tenderness in your Clay - Finding Inspiration

Music - Bensound


I think I might have been a little ambitious using this as a reference.  Wow that was tough.  I went to bed feeling frustrated with her.  She looked more like my grandmother saying "whatever" with her hand up than a beautiful powerful woman overlooking her ancient city.  Eeeck.


She got me out of bed early because we had some unfinished business.  I had to break her arm and rebuild it.  I cut away some of the top of her back and shoulders and rebuilt her face and hair again.  I extended her body too to make her full bodied.  She looked too squat and it wasn't working for this piece.

I am finally starting to like her.

Now I have to try capture her bird...



Lesson 5 - Finding Tenderness in your Clay - Finding her Eagle

MusicLoftið Verður Skyndilega Kalt