From concept to completion: the US artist on how she sculpts
1 Produce initial sketches
I like to go to a coffee shop in the morning and scribble out designs on an 11x14in pad of heavy tracing paper or drafting vellum. You can make quick overlays on translucent paper, and it has a relaxed feeling to it. It encourages lots of fast sketching, rather than one more ‘serious’ drawing.
2 Move into 3D
From scribble I go to armature, which I think of as a 3D scribble, giving core direction, motion and composition. I use aluminium armature wire – sometimes with brass rods and tubes if the piece needs to be created in sections. I may fill out the armature with hot-glue and aluminium foil, to keep it light and to ensure my clays have a reasonably strong thickness.
3 Build up the sculpture
If the piece is in polymer, I’ll mix coloured clay; I get a jumpstart on the final colour that way. I might paint the polymer with Genesis Heat Set Oil Paints: these bond well to poly clays. Or, if I want to use regular acrylics on cured polymer clay, I may mix some Golden GAC 200 medium into the paint. That helps it to adhere. The GAC 200 makes the paint glossy, but once a good coat is down, it’s much easier to lay a matte varnish over it, such as Winsor & Newton’s matte UV acrylic varnish.
4 Casting considerations
If you're planning to cast your piece then be aware that Kato Polyclay appears to prevent the surface of platinum-based mould silicones from setting up properly. It seems to do fine with tin-based mould materials. I’ve found that testing is always a good idea!