Of all the sculpting tips I can give you, none is more important than how to correctly adjust your working posture.
Get that right and your energy flows.
All part of the 'Zen art of playing around with clay'.
There are general benefits from improved posture and the correct building of core strength, but that's another discussion. Suffice to say, you ignore this aspect at your peril.
In my view, development of mind and body go together, so try to look after both.
The point here is that, when you are physically comfortable, it allows other energies to flow freely. Namely YOUR PASSION.
Never underestimate passion in this whole equation. Without it you are doomed. Discomfort blocks enthusiasm, and you will soon be asking yourself "do I care enough"?
For obvious reasons, I am not a believer in the view that artists must suffer for their work. I do suffer for my work, but not because of incorrect core posture.
So especially when working with clay on small to medium sized pieces, like I do all day, every day, it is important you have what in Eastern philosophy they call 'chi balance'.
Many people, even experienced artists, get this wrong.
Your eyes need to be more or less level with the area of the sculpt you are working on so there is neither stooping nor reaching up.
Working for hours at a time you will need to be balanced and correct in your posture, otherwise it may lead to health problems in the long run.
My simple sculpting tip is to have two different height turntables, one higher and one lower. These are interchanged depending on whether you are working on the upper or lower parts of the sculpture.
My own solution is to go one step further and have two turntables as well as an adjustable height table. In Zen thinking, they talk about 'balancing chi'. I believe there is a lot of sense in this concept - which can be applied to your working posture.
With this arrangement, in a seated position, a sculptor can arrange the area of the sculpt being worked on at any given time to be at eye level, without stooping or stretching.
Detailed small sculptures like the ones I do, take hour after hour of concentrated work on one area at a time. This means you must have a marathon type stamina. Imagine trying to run a marathon with ill-fitting trainers. You would never finish the race.
Being comfortable with your own body whilst working allows for the all important patient, comfortable build up of your piece.
The important thing to have in mind is that, just like Rome, your sculpture will not be built in a day. In the meantime, make sure your 'chi' is in balance as you work.
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