The method used in this first week was very much about the development, rather then the outcome. We weren’t trying to get a perfectly modelled finished piece by the end of the week, it was more about testing out the different processing of slabbing and pinching the clay, and seeing what the effect of the two together was, while also looking at the structure and texture of the human body.
This kind of approach to creating work is a good way to apply to the creative process in general. It prevents from becoming overly focused on creating a perfect outcome, to the point where the development is less extensive.
We had two workshops in the first week, learning a few different techniques. After a life drawing session in the morning, we had our first workshop which was slabbing. We used our life drawings from the morning as inspiration for the human form. We used a process of rolling out a slab of clay, giving it a coat of slip and then drawing a sort of suggestion of a figure into it, but the aim was to not use the outline to completely signify where the shape of the body was. To give the body its form we would work the clay up from the underside, pushing it out and stretching it until it became more 3D.
The second technique was pinching, where we built up a hollow torso by pinching together pieces of clay.
We then used the slabbing technique from before to create faces, which were intended to be 3D recreations of Holbein’s Tudor portraits. Both of these workshops were inspired by Akio Takamori’s work, in which he often uses the slabbing technique to create figures.
While his work seems to include outline quite heavily, if you look at it from different angles besides straight on, you can really see the way he’s manipulated the clay to form the shape of the figure.