Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sleeping Child

"Sleeping Child" is a small terra cotta sculpture that does not photograph well. I don't know why. It looks much better in the real.

I was inspired to make this after I read that early in his life, Michelangelo made a lot of 'sleeping putti', carvings of chubby, angelic sleeping children.

If my memory serves, these early carvings have never been found or, if they still exist, were never identified as his work.

This piece is rather old. It was molded from a solid piece of clay which is then allowed to stiffen to nearly leather-hard and using a cut-off wire, sliced in half. The insides of the halves were carefully carved out using various sized loop tools until the thickness of the clay was no more than 3/4 to 1 inch in any one place. This is so that the clay will dry in a uniform way and hopefully not develop cracks.

The two halves were joined, the seam worked to make it disappear and the whole thing was allowed to dry very slowly before firing at a cone 5/6 oxidation. After firing, I applied several different finishes to enrich the color and create dark areas. Brown shoe polish sometimes is just the thing to deepen the color of the clay and give it a rich burnish.

The base is the result of a trip to a tombstone maker's bone yard. I found this great piece of marble and asked him to cut one edge to make it even--it was a fragment of a larger piece of marble. After I explained that it would be a sculpture, he was delighted to do so and invited me to prowl 'the back lot' anytime I needed another one.

1 comment:

cori said...

HI Jeanette.
I live in Canada. I saw your post for french butter dish construction.
It is sure different than I am doing it. ( Calipers and eye balling etc.. but I like the skewer thing you mentioned but it is a bit confusing.
I would love ( if your offer is still open) to see the hand out or other description of the how to... you mentioned on clayart. - I have just come back to pottery after being away for about 7 years. You can see some of my work though at
Thanks so much
you can email me the hand out if that is the easiest. my email is on my site.
thanks so much. ( Great humour piece on price of a mug!)

friends in clay,
Cori Sandler, Canada