Structural engineering, the term has always sounded too math heavy for my interest. I realize, now, that’s what my main focus is when I’m building figures. Understanding the ways that clay can withstand weight and gravity in various angles is something a lot of us learn the hard way from stress cracks and worse. I was missing some technical construction know how. The techniques used on the inside of the figure, it’s hidden from the viewer, but is critical for the piece to survive the stress of shrinkage and extreme heat of kiln. So, I took a class with Adrian Arleo. It answered all my engineering questions and more. The best part is I have finally finished my piece after 6 weeks of work.
The pose is surprisingly complex. Building it from the ground up it quickly became apparent how this was a pretzel of a pose. A tangle of limbs supporting a heavy head. A standing figure is much easier to see the proportions when they are balanced, but not so in this pose. It was a complex puzzle and a maze in one. The challenge was exactly what I was looking for and more. Finishing it felt like I had finished a marathon. She’s ready to begin a month of drying now. Then to the kiln with her.
I prefer to do work with a narrative, and to date have not found a narrative to incorporate into this piece. She will just be a figure filled with her own thoughts.