Exploring Sculpey

I've been following te work of Shona M MacDonald  as she makes her first (and very successful) sculpey creature, this along with a discussion with a friend over making a hand puppet for a small child encouraged me to revisit and further explore this medium.

I started with the hands, and having seen Shona and the animation group at UWE use fimo bones (leaving the wire showing for joints) this was how I started. I've always had difficulty with hands as the clay keeps coming off the wire as you work it but these crude bones gave a real grip onto which to build the detail. Each photo was taken after a stage was cooked or fired (not shure of the correct terminology but as a ceramacist I'll stick to fired).

My biggest problem was not running the wire from the fingers into the palm, this meant that the fingers were not strong at this point leading to cracking. Also I should have made the bones thinner as they sometimes restricted the detail I could add, especially near the fingernails. These were made from transparent sculpey, fired, and then built into the finger. The bones wee too close to the fingertip so they are not very secure.

The finished hands are flawed but I like the gnarley look and next time I will make the construction stronger.

I plan to make a puppet approx a foot tall which means a much bigger sculpey head than I've tried before. You can see the early stages below.
As the puppet is to be hand held there will be a stick coming out of the back of the head. I was worried about this going in the oven but it seems fine so far. The wire will support horns.

 Wrapped in foil and a layer of sculpey to build ont he head. I've added to indentations for the eye sockets but I don't really have any idea of what he will look like yet.

The basic head takes shape. The vaseline is used to help unfired clay stick to fired, and is good for smoothing away fingerprints too.

As I didn't have beads of the correct size I've made eyes from black sculpey and fired them so I can model the eye lids onto them.


Teeth are made from fired transparent sculpey and will be beded into the lips.

I'm still not sure about how he should look and may go back and change a lot of the features but so far no problem working at this scale, but then he hasn't been cooked yet!


Shona M MacDonald said...

The hands look great so far! :) If you're finding that the finger wires are wobbling a bit, a little bit of tin foil wrapped round where they join the palm might help to stop them moving about so much when you add the 'bones'.
I like the idea of baking the fingernails first - wish I'd thought of that!! :)

ferinn said...

Looks pretty good to me.I've finally succumbed to i-pad,it's allowing me to leave comments! Hope school not too bad.

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