Whimsical Figures

by AMACO brent

Large lp51 5 figures pp

Clay figures can be inspired by history, literature or current events.

Dee Schaad was born and raised in Nebraska and has a MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has taught ceramics at the University of Indianapolis for more than 30 years, and served as chairman of the Department of Art and Design since 1994. His work is included in a number of public and private collections and has exhibited nationally. His writing appears in many national publications. As a ceramist, his work covers a broad spectrum of ceramic processes. He works in both stoneware and earthenware, creating large and small sculptural pieces, traditional, and more functional vessel-formatted objects. Dee Schaad was named University of Indianapolis’ Teacher of the Year in 2006. During the summer of 2007, he was awarded a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis.


Start with the Head

Large lp51 11869v step1 pp

Roll a piece of AMACO® White Art Clay No. 25 into a small golf ball sized egg shape.


Make Neck

Large lp51 11869v step2 pp

Roll out another piece of clay into a carrot shape that is 1 1/2" to 2" long.


Attach Head and Neck

Large lp51 11869v step3b pp

Think of the head as a clock, with the narrow part being the bottom. Make a mark at 7 o’clock. Score and slip the marked area along with the flat end of the carrot.


Attached

Large lp51 11869v step4 pp

Attach the neck to the head at an angle where you have slipped and scored.


Mouth

Large lp51 11869v step5a pp

Make a horizontal cut for the mouth.


Teeth

Large lp51 11869v step5b pp

Small vertical cuts create the teeth.


Finish Teeth

Large lp51 11869v step5c pp


Lips

Large lp51 11869v step6b pp

Roll two pea-sized pieces of clay into small coils.


Attach Lips

Large lp51 11869v step6c pp

Lay them along the teeth to create the impression of lips, one above the teeth and one below. Smooth outside edges of lips into the head.


Cheeks

Large lp51 11869v step7a pp

Smooth two small pea-sized balls along each side of the mouth to create cheeks.


Nose

Large lp51 11869v step7b pp

Form another piece of clay into a nose and attach above the mouth.


Nostrils

Large lp51 11869v step7c pp


Eye Sockets

Large lp51 11869v step8a pp

Push depressions into the clay for eyes.


Eye Lids

Large lp51 11869v step8b pp

Roll out two pea-sized clay balls and two more slightly smaller. Moisten the sockets then place one pea-sized ball into the depression and cut it in half horizontally.


Eye Balls

Large lp51 11869v step9a pp

Next, push one of the smaller clay balls into the slit to create the eyeball with an upper and lower eyelid. Repeat for the second eye.


Eyes and Eye Brows

Large lp51 11869v step9b pp

Use a needle tool to define details within the eyes.


Detail Head

Large lp51 11869v step10c pp

Roll two pea-sized clay balls into an egg shape. Squeeze slightly then attach to sides of head for ears. Use a clay tool to add detail. Wrap finished head in plastic and set aside.


Create Body: Robe

Large lp51 11869v step11 pp

Roll out a tapered slab of clay 6" X 10" by 1/4" thick. Texture slab with AMACO® clay texture molds. Form slab into robe by rolling the outer edges underneath itself. The robe should be narrower at the top.


Formed Robe

Large lp51 11869v step12 pp

Once robe is formed, leave it on the work-board to prevent over-handling. Move the robe by handling the board and not the actual textured clay.


Attach Head to Body

Large lp51 11869v step13b pp

Score and slip back of robe and front of neck then attach. Attaching the head allows the artist to create personality by having the figure looking in any direction.


Support Head

Large lp51 11869v step14 pp

A small ball of clay may be needed as a support to prevent head from drooping. Place a small piece of paper towel between head and support and leave during the firing process.


Arms

Large lp51 11869v step15 pp

Roll out two carrot-shaped pieces of clay approximately 1 1/2" long for the arms.


Hands

Large lp51 11869v step16b pp

Roll two clay balls the size of small grapes. Squish flat. Roll out small coils for each finger. Attach fingers to hand, then attach hand to arm. Roll two clay balls the size of small grapes. Squish flat. Roll out small coils for each finger. Attach fingers to hand, then attach hand to arm.


Sleeves

Large lp51 11869v step17a pp

Cut out two textured slabs about 2" x 1 1/2". Attach one end of sleeve to robe near neck and taper it down toward waist. Repeat for other sleeve.


Attach Arms to Sleeves

Large lp51 11869v step18a pp

Score and slip the bottom of the sleeve to the top of the arm and attach.


Feet

Large lp51 11869v step19 pp

Create the feet like the hands. Roll two egg-shaped balls of clay the size of a grape. Squish flat. Roll out small fat eggs of various sizes and attach them to the feet to create toes. Score and slip the bottom of the robe and the top of the foot and attach.


Finishing Touches

Large lp51 11869v step20 pp

Add details to further the figure’s personality. Use a garlic press to create hair. Create jewelry or top your figure off with a hat. The possibilities are endless.


Firing

Allow the figure to completely dry then bisque fire to witness Cone 04.


Decoration

Coat entire figure with a wash solution of 50% AMACO® black underglaze and 50% water to enhance the texture. Once applied, use damp sponge to wipe the underglaze off the high spots. Color any remaining areas you choose with AMACO® Velvet underglazes and fire again to Cone 05. Apply AMACO® LG-10 Clear Gloss if a gloss finish is desired on certain areas.


Files

    Whimsical Figures Download File

Supplies

  1. Velvet Underglazes
  2. Texture Molds Garlic Press (For Hair!)