Tag Archives: figurines

Odd Fellows

I made some cylinder figures, with both closed and open top heads, in Art Camp Claudia McGill this summer, and I liked them. So here are a few more of the closed-top variety, made in October, 2016. They are smaller, about 4-5″ tall.


Sideways Glance

Here is a cylinder-type figure, made in October, 2016. You may remember an earlier one I did in Art Camp Claudia McGill.

I’ve given you a front view, a back view, and a detail of the color work. I am not sure the figurine is happy about all this attention – just look at his face…

Clay from Art Camp Claudia McGill – Cylinder Figurines

Here you have the story of the cylinder figurines, from the Art Camp Claudia McGill.

They first appear as slabs turned into cylinders, and then they are given faces, of a sort.

You can see them in this picture on the kiln shelf, just bisque-fired.

Clay in kiln 1 8-16 small

I wanted to keep their faces clear but add some liveliness to them so that they would not look ghostly. I gave them colorful “outfits” using Velvet underglazes and some sgraffito, in which I used a pointed tool to scrape into underlying layers of color to make contrasting lines.

Here are some details of their “clothing”:

And here they are, themselves!

Clay from Art Camp Claudia McGill – Ladies and Cat

More Art Camp Claudia McGill results. Here are some figurines – two ladies and a cat. The ladies are in the wet-clay stage; I don’t seem to have a photo of the cat.

Wait! Yes, I do.

Clay kitty small 8-16

Here are the figurines, waiting to be unloaded from the kiln.

And here are the lady figurines in final form. Now, the one with her arms at her sides, that’s a form I’ve made many times before. The one with her arms flung out, I’ve never made one like that, and I like it. As far as glazing them, I did them the same way as the figurine in the previous post, including the flung-out arms one getting a partial washoff due to excessively fussy dress decoration.

I’m not thrilled with the way their faces came out – they look ghoulish, with the stark white clay and black details – I think this style of face works better with the softer tones of the stoneware clay I have used in the past. Still, I like them. They know who they are.

The cat got a simple styling – I painted it black all over with Velvet underglaze and then washed it off, leaving the details. Enough said. Cats always know who they are.


Clay from Art Camp Claudia McGill: Puffy-Headed Figure

This creature emerged from the Art Camp Claudia McGill and is now finished. Take a look. Here it is, in the wet clay stage:

Figurine 8-16 pre-bisque small

The figurine on the kiln shelf after bisque firing:

Clay in kiln 3 8-16 small

When it came time to glaze the creature, first I painted its face area solid black with Velvet underglaze, and then washed it off, leaving it in the depressed areas. I then gave it a variety of colored patterns all over its body. I overdid it, and the patterns got too fussy. Annoyed, I went to the sink with the idea of washing it off and starting over (after all that painting, you bet I was annoyed, but it just didn’t look right to me). I washed part of it off and liked the result, so I stopped right there.

Then I wrenched its arm off and felt even better about things. I thought the arm was just too diminutive for the body – the colors seemed to accent that for me, where it had looked all right up to now, in the unpainted stages. I left the white clay showing where the arm had been – now that looked fine to me!

So – here’s the result.

Art Camp Revisited

Back on Day 5 of the recent Art Camp Claudia McGill, the camper worked on clay items. You may remember the day, but if not, take a moment to review the day’s activities…

All right. Now the items have been fired. All were done at cone 06, since I was using low-fire clay, and I mixed greenware (dried but unfired clay) with bisque (clay that has undergone a first firing). I could do this because they fire at the same temperature in both phases; that’s not the case with stoneware clay, where the second firing is done at a higher temperature, due to the requirements of the clay.

So. Here’s an update.

The cat tiles. Remember, I used Velvet underglazes to do portraits of cats on previously-fired terracotta clay tiles. Here are the results.

Cat tiles 8-16 small

I made word tiles, pressing rubber letter stamps into the clay. It looked gray in its wet state, but I told you it would come out very white, and look…I was right…

Clay in kiln 4 8-16 small

I also made some figures. Here they are.

I will decorate the word tiles and the figurines with underglaze, and I may also put a coat of shiny glaze on the words, at least. I’m still deciding. Anyway, the cat tiles are finished now; the other items will get some color to them and then undergo another firing.

Art Camp Day 9 – August 11

Art camp! Art camp! Claudia McGill is at Art Camp Claudia McGill! Art camp! Art camp! (These are the words to our camp song, in case you would like to know…not much of a song but it gets the point across.)

Today the topic was – woodburning. Or pyrography, as it is also called.

I have a little woodburning set but have never used it – my husband did, when he made a sign for my garden. I’ve held on to it, thinking of childhood memories of woodburning projects, but not until today did I get to it.

Before I tried it out (after decades apart, I felt the technique and I needed to re-acquaint ourselves) I got a couple of books from the library on the topic. They depicted a very pictorial approach to the medium – shading and realism and that kind of thing. I had a more rustic view of woodburning projects – a sign for Art Camp Claudia McGill to put over the entrance? but really, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. I really didn’t want to purchase a wooden blank of some kind, box, plaque, etc., and decorate it. And I didn’t want to make a sign for camp, either, to tell the truth…

So when I set to work today, I was still confused as to what I’d be making. But I got a piece of scrap wood and fired up the woodburning tool. Though it came with several points (including an Exacto knife attachment that would allow you to cut plastic stencils) I stuck with the standard point; I think it is referred to as a chisel point.

Woodburning tools 8-16 small

I practiced on the scrap wood and got the hang of things pretty quickly. Let me tell you, that little tool heats up fast and furious. It’s necessary to move slowly over the wood, and the longer you linger in one spot, the deeper and thicker the line. The varied surfaces on the point also allowed me to make different marks. I also recommend working in a well-ventilated room – the process creates a bit of smoke.

I liked the look of things, but I needed a project. Then – I thought of – stick ladies.

You may remember my painted stick ladies, made from wood picked up on my walks. Luckily, I had a pile of prepared sticks ready to go. I grabbed some and got to work.

In each case, I started with the nose and created the face. It gave me a good starting point.

Woodburned lady in process 8-16 small

I made a nice little group of ladies. Each one is plain on the back with her features on the front. I also tried to used fatter sticks, as it gave a better surface to work with.

I will make more of these ladies. Since I had a hard time getting started, I didn’t have the opportunity to do as many as I would have liked – they are addictive, once you get going.

So, the woodburning set is a success. And just as much fun as I remember from about 50 years ago.