I recently taught an Animal Sculpture Workshop at Mapstone Studio here in Devon, UK. I had clients from the UK and as far away as Canada. They ranged from complete novices to experienced sculptors. However, my simple technique allows everyone to have a go and make something they can be proud of. This year we had interesting animal subjects, including orangutans, caracals, dogs and elephants. To help them with their animal sculptures, workshop participants are instructed to gather as much information as possible on their chosen subjects beforehand.
I always start myworkshops with a slideshow and demo. I explain my background and influences and ensure all the students have a good grasp of the building technique before we start. The hardest part is getting all the body parts correctly proportioned and assembled. This is a critical stage. If the basic proportions aren’t right, errors tend to compound themselves as the piece progresses. This can be very frustrating, particularly for beginners, who don’t always notice fundamental errors until it’s too late.
Once everyone gets stuck in, quiet descends and you could hear a pin drop! Some of my students needed to tackle some tricky structural issues. For example, one of the workshop participants was making a sculpture of a Weimaraner scratching his head on three legs. I’m always at hand to help keep the clay in check and find solutions to any problems.
Through the course of the day, we’re looked after by our lovely host, Nina, who provides delicious lunches and tea breaks. After three days everyone was delighted with their animal sculptures. We all agreed they had exceeded our expectations. I packed all the sculptures up and took them back to my studio for firing and glazing. Clients can either collect their animal sculptures from the studio or I send them by courier. To view all the clients finished animal sculptures click here.