Art| My First Sculpting Class

My First Sculpting Class

I grew up with a deep appreciation of art. It served as a creative outlet and form of expression for me. I’ve tried acrylic painting, embroidery, sketching, and digital art to name a few. But I have always wanted to try clay sculpting. When I found a class to try, I was both excited and anxious. Will it be hard? Would I be good?

I entered not having any idea of what to expect. The space was like a warehouse packed with shelves covered in student works, the pieces in different stages of completion. Finished sculptures decorated the walls and floor space. In the center sat a raised platform with sitting pedestal, sculpting stands surrounding it. I felt both inspired but ever nervous.

Our instructor kindly introduced herself and welcomed us to the class. She told each student to take a spot at a rotating sculpture table trestle. We started by taking a medium sized wooden board and hammering a metal rod in the middle then covered the board with newspaper and brown kraft paper.

Then we grabbed a bag with a block of clay, cut a piece from it and surrounded the metal rod to form a base for our figure. The model was then told to enter. A woman wearing a skirt, bra and boots, entered the room, stepped onto the raised platform, sat on the pedestal and struck a pose.

Our instructor told us to first take in the figure as a whole and begin to sculpt only attempting to get the generalized shape, proportions and volume of the model. She talked to us about viewing sculpting like a winding staircase. You start looking at the figure as a whole in basic and rudimentary shapes gradually etching away bit by bit until you get to the finer details. She warned that sometimes in focusing on one part you can forget its relation to the rest of the work. While working, remember to occasionally take a step back along with breaks in order to refine the figure you’re working on as a whole.

The first day I had a rough blob of a figure but felt a sense of accomplishment that I started the journey toward learning to clay sculpt. As the weeks flew by and I kept refining the piece, it felt like I discovered a new form of relaxation.

I got lost in the tactile sensation of creation working with my hands in the clay. Hours felt like the blink of an eye. After allowing it to dry completely, my piece got fired in the kiln. We then had a finishing class to paint the work at the end.

This initial class sparked in me a desire to continue sculpting. It relaxes me and transports me into another head space. I think I found a new favored art form. I hope to one day make a life sized or larger piece!

©JustTalkingShep 2023

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