I thought I would do a post on the creation of my porcelain art and show the time involved with each piece and also maybe give people an idea on why a piece is priced where it is. I think it also is interesting to see the evolution of the art, from start to finish. This is a long post, but I think you'll enjoy it.
Ideally, I like to sketch what I'm going to sculpt. I don't always, but the more information I give myself, the better. In other words, having a vision helps the end result.
Amost done. I probably tweaked it for another hour or so over the next day before I took it to my mold maker. The clay needed to be "leathery". Didn't know what leather was but I guess I was ok because the mold was beautiful.
With the "My Toy" sculpture, I originally wanted a porcelain mold done of the "Tirzah" bronze. It was not meant to be, due to the nature of the material. Since the originals get destroyed in the process, destroying my bronze would have been some feat. What was I thinking?
The mold maker suggested I re-do the "Tirzah" piece in clay, but as I had it for a model, I realized I didn't see any sense in replicating it. Sculpt a new piece; so the "My Toy" art took on a life of its own.
Here is the original toy. In Art Center, anything used to help us create art/detail was called "scrap", ie, photos, or actual objects. I tried to take most of my own photos in AC as I do now. My Perspective teacher Mr. Youngkin put the fear of HELL in us, if he saw anything illustrated in his class that he saw in a magazine, (National Geographic, etc.). He also taught us that if we don't know what we're talking about, ie, illustrating, get it straight, because there's always someone out there who sees our art will know if it's right or not. So be authentic and accurate. It helps. I loved that guy, but his class was soooo hard.
Here, the mold maker (Doug) has sketched out where he's going to split my art. The little black dots are where there will be seams in the poured porcelain. I don't have photos of that, but basically, "Sage & Thrill" is a 4 piece mold, the "My Toy" sculpture is an 8 piece mold. The toy on "My Toy" was cut off and I pour that separate of the collie, then attach the toy later. There are seams all over that need to be taken out and repaired. This is time consuming and on "My Toy" I spend up to 3 hours on each piece just taking out seams and adding detail back in the head, face & fur. The ears were filled in, as was the throat latch, so that all comes out and is repaired/re-sculpted.
The mold then is flipped over and "slip" is poured into it, which is liquid porcelain clay. That stays in the mold for about 30 minutes, then I pour the excess back into the slip container and the mold sits to set some more. (The art looks like a chocolate bunny ~ hollow inside with seams after it is right-sided and mold pieces taken off.) While I wait for the slip to set another hour I watch the chickens.
Here is the 1st "My Toy" sculpture that was poured and painted. Normally the first poured piece is tossed, as the mold isn't "cured" yet. This piece looked pretty good, so I was very excited to get it going, plus it was already sold. The piece didn't set as long, so the walls were thinner. It turned into a problem but a great learning experience.
3 pieces that are painted and ready for a "bisque" fire or first 24 hour fire. This "underglazing" also was a learning experience, as what you paint isn't always what you get.
Tirzah checking out her puppies. She was quite fascinated with them. I was quite fascinated it was 3:30 in the afternoon and I was still in my fluffy pink robe.
The Squishy "My Toy" with " Squishy scrap". I was so glad this one didn't sell at the CCA because now it sits in our living room on a fuschia dog bed.
3 litters of puppies ~ before the bisque fire. After the bisque fire they look the same, then can be painted some more, glazed and then fired. China painting is optional after the glaze fire.
Glazed and china painted. One more fire for this though china painting can go on and on with multiple firings to layer color and detail.
This crack in the back of the sculpture originally was a thin, off-set crack that went 3/4 of the way up the back of the ruff. I was so sad and thought I'd have to toss it. But I tried to repair it at the ceramic shop with slip mixed with some vinegar (the slip mixture used to put the toy back on the sculpture). It still cracked after the 4th firing.
I then was told about "Bisque Fix" and that really was the ticket. After that was applied I glazed that part again, for a 5th fire but the glaze didn't cover everything so it was glazed AGAIN and then I china painted it.
The back is good now, but I've still had issues with the china painting on the face. My current situation is I'm painting a Cardiff ~ very deep gold/red, more so than the other collies I'm painting. A 6th and a 7th fire was done. I'm now dealing with china painting/too much oil issues. I keep telling myself it's going in the trash....
Then when I got this piece back from the ceramic shop it had stuff attached to it. Like stuck in the glaze. Dremmel fixed it, but I was afraid I was going to crack it.
Here are the china paints. They are oil based paints and I LOVE painting with them. I'm not an oil painter, as I love my watercolors, but this is different and painting on glazed sculpture is really special. It gives the faces really nice detail that is hard to get with just the first set of underglazing. I also like the turpentine......reminds me of my mom & Art Center.
The "My Toy" piece that is always on the verge of getting tossed. I will work on it some more between all my other pieces. It might win the prize for getting the most firings. Now I have a dark face and light body.......
In my new kiln. Sooo exciting!!!
This went up to about 2300 degrees. That's HOT!!
So there you have it. Original art sculpted; mold making, waiting for mold to dry which for the "My Toy" was a week; pouring slip which is a two process step (which I needed help with because the mold with slip probably weighs 20-25 lbs and has to be tipped over to pour out the slip); cleaning up seams on slip mold individually; underglazing (painting), bisque fire (24 hrs); more underglazing & applying glaze, glaze fire (24 hrs); china painting (shorter firing ~ 7 hours??); china painting, firing, china painting.......lots of work and many processes but worth it for the final art!