Ceramic Sculpture - where do i start? - Polymer Clay?
by warren barrett
Ceramic Sculpture - where do i start? - Polymer Clay?:- as someone who has always love sculpting ,i decided i would like to have a little go, but have no doubt where to start, firstly i would like to know apart from polymer clay is every other form of clay is to be heated in a kiln, and to start is polymer clay the best way to start . i would like to eventually model animals and people can you you get detailed results from polymer clay and if not what clay is best for this area, i would really grateful for any answers
thank you for any help
Reply by Peter (admin)
to :- ‘Ceramic Sculpture - where do i start? - Polymer Clay?’
Many thanks for your questions:-
Q. Apart from polymer clay is every other form of clay is to be heated in a kiln?
A. No, Air Dry clays do not need kiln firing. Plasteline must be cast..
Q. Is polymer clay the best way to start?
A. I began with polymer, then went to plasteline, then went to ceramic clay. Everyone is different though. I didn't know about ceramic clays (which is now my favoured choice)
Q. Can you you get detailed results from polymer clay?
A. Yes, with Kato - (see below for details).
Q. What clay is best for animals and people?
A. Detailed animals and fantasy figures - plasteline
Some further details:-
We have already got much of the information on the site, but obviously, it is a big site with lots of sections, and I need to make it more easy to navigate for you.
First tip is remember the in-house search box at the top of the home page.
Put in any term you might be wondering about e.g. 'polymer modeling clays'. You will get a list of my pages covering this topic. Read through them all, then go back to the most relevant.
Secondly, there is an important sculpting tips starter section on different types of modeling clays - your RAW MATERIALS.
You download this section as a pdf and keep on your computer use as the basis of your initial research. This file contains live links to all the relevant section which will automatically open in your browser when you click on them.
Why a download file? Well, apart from it being easy to share with friends and send by email etc, it ensures you never lose this website! (How many times have you 'lost' a bookmark?).
This important pdf 'tips' section tells you all about your choices of raw materials and how to make an informed choice.
Ceramic clay is always the least expensive option in terms of the cost of the clay. Polymer clay and plasteline is much more expensive pound for pound. If you pay a local potter (anyone who has free kiln space) a small fee, most will accept your work for firing - as long as it has dried thoroughly and has no large air-locks.
Overall, therefore, to get a 'finished product' the ceramic clay route is the least expensive, unless you are into the 'critter' or 'floral' type of art associated with air drying clays
like Cold Porcelain
Using wax, plasteline, plastercine, will always be more expensive to buy and also have to be cast in order to get a final piece of artwork. However, the best detail can be obtained from these types of clays as they never dry out and the detail can be made infinitely small, unlike ceramic clay which has a limit.
Polymer clay often doesn't have enough 'resistance' for intricate detail, although recent developments in a medium called Kato Clay are allowing professional artists to produce amazing results - see here Kato Clay work by Forest Rogers
Polymer clay costs and arm and a leg, but can be oven fired. However, for me the finished artwork is too brittle and soft for my liking.
If you decide to go the ceramic (pottery clay) route - which is my own personal choice - to get detailed information on exactly which ceramic modeling clay is best suited for sculpting, please go to my page here
This section is supported by a page about drying and firing ceramic pottery clay
- especially useful if you plan to fire your work rather than make castings.
There is also a Sculpture Lesson:
showing the process of how to make a figurine from start to finish and not forgetting the Sculpting Tutorials:
which are all about more advanced techniques.
The Sculpting Supplies section
will help you with your tools and equipment and there is even a page dedicated to helping you find sculpting supplies in your location
Once you have browsed these various sections, please figure out what questions you still have and post further comments - either start a new thread if it's a beefy topic, or post here on the comments page if it's general.
Peter (admin) These pages show our new English made bone china figurine collectionGO TO THE SITE SEARCH FUNCTION