Time lapse sculpting…I am continuing now with the mini maquette portrait of Fannie Mae Duncan. This clay is called Jmac Classic clay in firm, which I purchased from the Sculpture Depot in Loveland. This is an oil-based clay that never dries out and is fairly sticky. This clay is never a final product as it will always remain soft - it is used to create the sculpture but a mold must then be taken of the work, which destroys the work in the process. The mold is then used to cast the the wax for making a bronze, or can be cast using a variety of other casting mediums such as plaster or Forton (which is like a cast stone).

At this point I’m working on the likeness and experimenting with the clothing. Next I will begin creating the hat.

Paper template for creating a hat in clay ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

The oil based clay needs an armature to hold its shape, other wise it will sag and fall off. One way to add an armature is to use wire of pipe but an armature can be made with a lot of materials including wood, foam and paper. For this hat armature I have chosen paper. I started by estimating a size diameter for the brim of the hat and using a compass I cut out a circle of still paper.

Covering the paper template with melted clay ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Next I used my hot box (an upcycled styrofoam cooler can be used as a hot box - it’s insulating properties mean that a simple incandescent light bulb can be used to heat the clay) to warm the clay to an icing consistency. Then I used a small sculpting spatula to spread the clay on both sides of the paper. The clay is hot enough to burn fingers at this time and spread on each side, let to cool down ad then go back smooth the lumps and bumps with a sculpting rake. I will be added more clay to bulk out the thickness once I have settled on the final style of the hat. It can’t be less than 3/16” for the purposes of casting in bronze. If I chose to cast in another medium it may be required to be thicker than that in order to cast properly.

Adding the crown of the hat and a hat band ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

With the brim cooled and smoothed out a bit I add clay and sculpt in the crown of the hat and add a hat band. This is enough detail to begin with and next I’ll be adding the hat to Fannie Mae and begin working with the shape, decoration and attitude of the garments.

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