SummerFest- Free E-Class Tutorial- Time to Make the Ghoulies Part One

Welcome to Summerfest at the Studio! 
Halloween is around the corner and everyone is working hard to get their muses headed in that direction for the big Halloween sales- so what a better way to kick off Summerfests free E-Classes!
It's time to make the Ghoulies!!

Supplies you will need to complete your project (in no particular order):
 a water spritzer
 aluminum armature wire
 masking tape
 bamboo skewers
 an assortment of clay tools
 acrylic paint in your choice of colors
fabric scraps (i will be using muslin but old t-shirts work just fine)
aluminum foil
wire cutters

We will start with making the head.
for this part you will need the paperclay (i exclusively use Creative PaperClay), a wad of aluminum foil, your clay tools, masking tape and a bamboo skewer.
i like to recycle aluminum foil (just throw it in the dishwasher and it comes out clean!) but for this demonstration, i will be using fresh from the roll foil- to make it easier.

take your bamboo skewer and gently scrunch the aluminum foil around the top
of the skewer (the flat end, keep the pointy end down).

once you have it in place, your going to give it a good squeeze and
tighten the foil- while molding into a head like form. you want the
skewer to the top of the head form- but not sticking through the top of it.
don't forget to leave a tad at the bottom for the neck.
when you have the foil firmly squished around the skewer, you want to grasp the
 foil in your hand and give just barely a tug, (to make sure you can remove the skewer later)
and then move it back into position.
take your masking tape and wrap the head till no foil shows through.
this is done so that the clay does not react with the foil and it aids in the
drying process of the clay- you won't have so many cracks (the foil has lots of crevices for
air to get trapped in)
now make a loose wrap around the bottom (the neck). this will allow you additional space for a neck
and by making it loose, while the clay will push it back against the skewer, it will allow for easy
removal of the skewer later.

cover the head with a layer of paperclay. about 1/4 inch thick.
if it is too thin (i.e you can feel the tape through it) it will have a higher rate
of cracking when drying, if it is too thick it will take days to dry properly.
TIP:: use your spritzer!
spritz the taped head before adding the clay.
spritz your hands while working with the clay.
spritz the clay.
paperclay is very finicky depending on your environment, your body temperature
and the humidity of the room you are in. It is not hard to work with,
and is very forgiving- if you just remember to keep it moist. if it doesn't blend to itself with one
rub of the finger- it's time to give it a spritz. If you think you have given it too much water
just wait a minute and let it set- but don't walk away from paperclay! you will return to a lump
of unusable grit if you do. just keep moving and you'll be fine!

pinch off a bit of clay from your block and give it a spritz, roll it between your
fingers to make a fat teardrop and (give the head a spritz) place it in the center of
the face to create a nose.

you can work both sides of the nose into the head with your thumbs (don't forget to spritz!)
if you don't have clay tools i have found that the end of another skewer, or the back end of a pair of tweezers
works well for making a nose. insert your tool (whatever it may be) to the left and then to the right to create nostrils. 
TIP: when creating nostrils, a slight bump upwards before pulling the tool out
helps to create the "flair" of the nostril, with out too much effort. you are pushing the clay up slightly
to "bubble" into a nostril flair.

to make the eyes- first- hold the head, facing up, on the ends of your fingertips
(both hands) place one thumb where the left eye should be, place your other thumb
where the right eye should be, and give a little push- till you indent the clay into
the form of an eye socket.
then, taking the rounded end of your tool, define the eye to a shape you like. again, a popsicle stick
also works well for this part, or the back end of a spoon- look around- you will
be surprised what you can use for clay tools!

here is an example: the left eye has the thumb impression. the right eye
has been defined with the rounded end of a clay tool.

the mouth is simply a split of the clay- i am using a tool in this photo, but
an exacto knife or even a butter knife will work here.
Make sure you are still spritzing your clay! (even the block you are working from
needs a good spritz now and again!)
use two splits on the top, to give the full lip look, and then once you have a bit of an
opening, move below the opening and give the clay a bit of a push in and up
and a bottom lip will appear. you can then define them as you wish.

once you are happy with the basic head and face give it
one more spritz (this slows down the final surface drying)

last step-  smooth under the neck as this is the spot that gets handled the most
and is the most likely spot to get over looked.
give the skewer a twist to make sure it is still loose.
TIP:: Bamboo skewers are great for paper clay.
paperclay dries from the outside in. the bamboo wicks the extra moisture out from the
inside of your piece and is exceptionally helpful when drying hands and feet.
It will take 2 (two) days for the paperclay to dry completely. Do not try to rush it by moving
on to the next step or icky things happen to paperclay that is sealed when there is still
moisture in its core. worst case is mold, best case it's going to crack. in either case,
it is a frustration best left behind.
you can flip the skewer (put the dry end in the piece) after 24 hours- this will
it takes a while to master paperclay due to it's squishy need to be wet- but it is well worth the time, and so much fun to work with. the possibilities are endless! and don't worry if you don't have any  or only one or two clay tools to work with. when i started sculpting with paperclay, it took me two years to buy a set of tools and another year to feel comfortable using them. your hands are your own amazing tools when it comes to clay- you will be surprised what you can accomplish with just your thumbs and a bit of household items!
 let those heads dry and i will see you back here for part two of e-class summerfest at the studio
the body armature!

remember, if you have any questions, you can either leave a comment and i will address
it at next class or you can email me for a private response.

live well.
love each other.

1 comment:

Kristal said...

OMG, why didn't you tell me you were doing this?!?!? (stomping foot). I have been wanting to make a little doll for awhile now. Okay, I'm really, REALLY behind, but I'm off to gather up some materials to start on this.