Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Clay Sculpture Timeline

Before starting a sculpture, it's a good idea to know how long it's going to take you to finish. This timeline is for highly detailed work; smaller, less detailed work takes less time.
  • Armature - use the pre-built armature and build up the skeletal structure of the sculpture using newspaper and masking tape (see the panther demo as an example). This is a fairly quick step usually taking no more than an hour.
    • Working hours = 1 hour.
  • Sculpting - start building the piece from the bottom up. Depending on size and how familiar you are with the subject, this can take up to 1 week or more for a larger piece that's an unfamiliar subject or medium.
    • Working hours = 8 to 25 hours (head sculptures take less time than figure sculptures).
  • Drying time - depends on the thickness and size of the sculpture. Can take 1-3 weeks depending on size.
    • Working hours = 0 hours.
  • Firing - place dry pieces in the kiln for firing. Firing takes a full day (about 6 - 8 hours), then the kiln must sit overnight to cool enough to remove the sculptures. This is for a cone 05 firing, hotter firings take longer, and time varies for different kilns.
    • Working hours = 9 hours (includes loading and unloading the kiln).
  • Finishing - paint and base the sculpture. This process varies as well, and can take up to 7-10 days, including drying time for paints and sprays.
    • Working hours = 8 to 16 hours (depends on whether the sculpture was fired as a whole, or broken or fired in sections).
    • Working hours = 2 to 4 hours (building and adding the base).

The approximate total number of hours that it takes for me to build one large horse head sculpture that is fired as a whole is 32 hours. This does not include things like building the armature (I use the same armature for most sculptures), putting a sculpture back together (if it was fired in sections), or firing at a hotter temperature. This also does not include any prep work, such as studying a subject, initial drawings, finalizing the drawings, or small studies. When I first started sculpting, the number of working hours was almost doubled, and some sculptures took 3 to 4 weeks to sculpt (I had fewer hours during the day to work on them).

No comments:

Post a Comment