Monday, August 11, 2008

Project 1


This project focuses on the direct study of the human figure using a personalized plaster cast.

Personalized Body Cast of Hand(s) or Feet
In this project, you will sculpt from life using a plaster cast of your body and will triple the size (at minimum) of the original casting and replicate it in clay. Each student will create a life-cast of his/her hands or feet. Consider the pose and gesture of the hand or foot. If you are doing two hands or both feet please pose them together to be cast as one compositional unit. The body casting will be done with alja-safe (video). The alginate mold will be cast in #1 molding plaster to create the plaster model. The alja-safe (data sheet)mold is a non-permanent mold that is cut away when the plaster model cures. The result will be a personalized plaster cast.

When the life casting is completed you are to sculpt a life-scale maquette (sketch in clay) to practice modeling and fine-tune your perceptual skills. Look for relative proportions, composition in the round, effects on volumes in the round. With this study model complete you will move to the large sculpture.

The final sculpture will be modeled solid and then hollowed at the leather-hard state. This is a traditional technique for life modeling used to create many of the terra cotta sculptures in the Renaissance. The technique of working solid allows the use of both additive and subtractive methods of sculpting. Detail will be developed as the sculpture becomes leather hard. After detail is completed, the sculpture will be sectioned to hollow it before firing. Terra sigillata will be applied to the sculpture at the bone-dry state. The piece will be bisque-fired and patinas will be rubbed into the surface after which the sculpture will be glaze-fired.

Some special materials are required for this project: alginate (a non-permanent and gelatin-like casting material often used in Dental Offices), plastic container of appropriate size to be used as a rigid holder for the alginate, and #1 molding plaster. The #1 molding plaster will be provided through the bookstore and will be available to you in the ceramics lab for a competitive price. It is to be purchased at the UF Bookstore and the receipt brought to the lab for dispensing.

This project will be evaluated for accuracy in representing the dimensional relationships present in the original plaster model, proportions, depth, and transitions. The realism, articulation of form, detailing and anatomical structure will be evaluated.


.Wednesday, August 27th
Bring tools, a container for making mold of body part, and alginate to class.

.Wednesday, September 3rd
Small life-size maquette is due. We will start our large-scale hands.

.Monday, September 15th
Body part studies are due wet. We’ll take a quick look at them as a class.

.Wednesday, September 24th

Project 2


Exercise 1: Human Skull Study
Read textbook pages 10-30, Faraut. Video will be shown in class.

You will begin your sculpting experience by reading and studying the illustrations for the technique used by Philippe Faraut to sculpt the human skull and muscle structure of the human head. A supplementary video showing this process will be shown in class. This objective of this study is to learn the human anatomy so that you fully understand what creates the structure of the human head and neck and why we move as we do. In this study you will be using the Faraut technique of solid modeling the skull. Skulls will be modeled at one-half of life size.

Exercise 2: Pinched Portraits Study
Read textbook pages 38-69. Video will be shown in class, Bova and Faraut – the features. (Artists of reference are Joe Bova, Arthur Gonzales and Judy Moonelis).

A portrait will be done of a selected classmate as an “in class” project. An orientation to thinking in the third dimension will be practiced by pinching the form and moving the clay wall in and out like a skin. Your understanding of the skeletal and muscle structures learned in the last sculpture will inform your use of this new technique. The portrait studies will be modeled at one-half of life size.

Read textbook pages 102-125 and 130-141. Video will be shown in class, Faraut on creating a likeness and common mistakes.

These Portrait sculptures are to be modeled 3/4 life size to life-size in scale. This project will be evaluated for likeness, proportions, sculptural depth and mass conveyed, and smoothness within volumetric transitions. You will be asked to provide photos of your head in the round and a mirror. These will be your perceptual resources for the project.

A demonstration of how to build using stacked slabs will be shown in class. You will be working hollow and bending the clay in and out by pinching the walls. The two previous exercises will lead you to understand structure and working hollow. This project will center upon developing perceptual skills.

The sculpture will be surfaced by underglaze or staining and covered with a shop glaze. Test tiles are available for view in the glaze lab. A glaze demonstration will be done in class.

Helpful Links:


.Wednesday, September 24th
Begin skull studies

.Wednesday, September 29th
Begin pinched portrait studies

.Wednesday, October 8th
Begin self portraits

.Wednesday, November 5th

Project 3


A female life model will pose for class as the subject of your sculpture. The modeling sessions will be scheduled during all class periods of the three-week project.
The female figure will be in a reclining pose to limit considerations of gravity.

The size limitation on the figure is 24" across.
A videotape showing the sculpting process of contemporary Italian sculptor Bruno Luchessi will be shown to offer a demonstration of tools and methods. You are required to review the illustrated books by Luchessi (on reserve for this class in the FAA library) - modeling the figure and the terra cotta portrait.
Please find or purchase a flat board 1/2" or 5/8" in thickness to be used for a surface to build on. Thinner boards will warp. It is suggested that the board is sealed with Thompson’s Water Seal and/or covered with canvas (either will keep the board flat). A turntable or lazy susan is required. You also might find wood carving tools interesting to experiment with at this time (reference the Lucchesi video).
You can use terra sig and patinas or underglazes and stain with an overglaze.
Criterion for grading
Anatomical accuracy, proportion, and gesture will be evaluated and discussed as you work.


.Monday, October 20th
First day of female model

.Wednesday, October 29th
Last day of female model

.Wednesday, November 26th

Project 4


During this second figure modeling sequence the group will have a voice in the pose selected (perhaps seated). The model scheduled is to be male, to offer an experience with a different figure type and anatomical articulation. This project will focus on developing modeling style and increasing the size of the sculpture.

The size of this vertical figure will be increased to 30” H.

Slides will be shown in class of ceramic figure sculptors who work within an academy style or with evident anatomical consideration.

Choose a figurative sculptor (realist) whose aesthetic style captures your interest. The artist can be from any period in Art History or a contemporary figurative sculptor. The sculptor does not have to work exclusively in clay.

This assignment requires that you research the style of the sculptor by observing, at least ten sculptural pieces by the artist. Choose one piece and do a drawing (no smaller than 8 ½” x 11”) where you note proportions and body type. On a separate sheet of paper list the name of the artist, title and year of the piece and the titles of the other nine pieces that you looked at. Also, analyze the sculpture and list the elements of the sculptural style including; massiveness, gesture, articulation (hair, eyes, hands) simplification, posture, draped/nude, facial expression, etc.

Incorporate this “sculptural style” into the life sculpture of the male figure. The sculpture is to remain anatomically correct and as life-like and “realistic” as your skills and perception will permit. The style for modeling, however, might emulate Rodin, loose and flowing, might reflect Donatello’s style tight and linear, or imitate Michelangelo’s muscular articulations; massive hard and robust.

The sculptures will be fired once to cone 04. Cold finishes such as metallic patinas, acrylic, oil paint, watercolor or encaustic will then be applied to the surfaces. Demos will be provided for these cold finishes.


.Monday, November 10th
First day of male model

.Wednesday, November 19th
Last day of female model

.Monday, December 8th