Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Clay Sculpture Timeline

Before starting a sculpture, it's a good idea to know how long it's going to take you to finish. This timeline is for highly detailed work; smaller, less detailed work takes less time.
  • Armature - use the pre-built armature and build up the skeletal structure of the sculpture using newspaper and masking tape (see the panther demo as an example). This is a fairly quick step usually taking no more than an hour.
    • Working hours = 1 hour.
  • Sculpting - start building the piece from the bottom up. Depending on size and how familiar you are with the subject, this can take up to 1 week or more for a larger piece that's an unfamiliar subject or medium.
    • Working hours = 8 to 25 hours (head sculptures take less time than figure sculptures).
  • Drying time - depends on the thickness and size of the sculpture. Can take 1-3 weeks depending on size.
    • Working hours = 0 hours.
  • Firing - place dry pieces in the kiln for firing. Firing takes a full day (about 6 - 8 hours), then the kiln must sit overnight to cool enough to remove the sculptures. This is for a cone 05 firing, hotter firings take longer, and time varies for different kilns.
    • Working hours = 9 hours (includes loading and unloading the kiln).
  • Finishing - paint and base the sculpture. This process varies as well, and can take up to 7-10 days, including drying time for paints and sprays.
    • Working hours = 8 to 16 hours (depends on whether the sculpture was fired as a whole, or broken or fired in sections).
    • Working hours = 2 to 4 hours (building and adding the base).

The approximate total number of hours that it takes for me to build one large horse head sculpture that is fired as a whole is 32 hours. This does not include things like building the armature (I use the same armature for most sculptures), putting a sculpture back together (if it was fired in sections), or firing at a hotter temperature. This also does not include any prep work, such as studying a subject, initial drawings, finalizing the drawings, or small studies. When I first started sculpting, the number of working hours was almost doubled, and some sculptures took 3 to 4 weeks to sculpt (I had fewer hours during the day to work on them).

About the Artist:

horse artist, equine artist, PSSM horse
Since starting my art business in 2004, I have been on a roller coaster ride that's taken me from art, to house flipping, to legal assistant, to horse trainer, and a full 180* back to my artworks.

I'm thankful to get back to my art, and also for the life experiences I've gained.

Things in life that matter the most!  Jen, husband Jared, and Jax

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