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Live online sculpture workshop (Google+ hangout)

Posted in Blog, Demos/ tutorials, Process, Sculpture

This Saturday (16th of February) at 3pm (UTC+10) I’m going to start working on a sculpture on Google+ and I’m opening the invitation to anyone that would like to grab their clay and “sculpt along”. I’ve created a shopping list for anyone that’s just getting started in sculpting including details on where you can get the items. If you’d like to join in, please send me a message via the contact form and let me know as there are only 7 spaces available. Also don’t forget to secure the items on the “shopping list” by Saturday, if you can’t though don’t stress because I will record the stream so that others can watch it later to catch up.

A rough plan of the process is as follows: The first hangout will be about building the wire skeleton and bulking up the basic shapes of the sculpture. The second session will be about adding details to the sculpture, troubleshooting problems and baking instructions. The third session will be about painting and finishing your sculpture.

Below is the dragon sculpture I will be completing, at my nephews request, complete with removable citrine crystal heart!


Now on to the shopping list. These are your essential items:


  1. Thick wire (roughly 1mm thickness) available at Bunnings/ hardware stores.
  2. Thinner wire (roughly 0.6mm thickness) available at Bunnings/ hardware stores.
  3. Aluminium foil, available at your nearest kitchen drawer/ supermarket.
  4. An actual size drawing of your subject, I also recommend doing a front view drawing at the same scale if you are not experienced at turning drawings into 3-Dimensional shapes. MAKE SURE YOUR DRAWING DOES NOT EXCEED THE SIZE OF THE INTERIOR OF YOUR OVEN. I’ve had some close calls with making my sculptures too big! You’ll need to bake it later, so it’s a good idea to measure your oven and your sculpture and leave some space to fit it in there.
  5. Items 5-8 can be bought as tools from an art store but I chose to make 5-7 from the wire (shopping list items 1 and 2). Below are instructions for making each tool. Alternatively you can buy these tools from an art store, but I have had difficulty finding smaller tools for sculpey projects (as most are large for pottery projects in earthen clays) so that’s another reason I just make them. You might be able to find the tools at Barnes. Number 8 can be substituted with a piece of wire, I only use the long pointy end for tiny details.
    SAFETY TIP: If you are making your own tools and would prefer not to be stabbed repeatedly in the hands with wire be sure to get some electrical tape or masking tape, to tape around the sharp ends of the wires (making a handle) and save your hands from injury.
  6. See point 5.
  7. See point 5.
  8. See point 5.
  9. Permanent marker, which you can get from pretty much any stationery store/ supermarket.
  10. Pliers – a cheap decent pair could likely be found at Kmart, Big W or a hardware store (Bunnings etc) MAKE SURE YOU GET ONES THAT ALSO HAVE THE BLADES FOR CUTTING WIRE (if not you will also need to buy wire cutters).
  11. Super Sculpey. Available at Barnes, Spotlight, Dalchem and many art stores. Always call ahead as I’ve been to each of these stores on at least one occasion and they haven’t had any stock. Sculpey can be a bit tough to find here in Australia. Normal white Original Sculpey will work fine too but Super Sculpey is a good middle range clay. Just avoid those tiny little coloured cubes of Sculpey, it’s not the same!_____The second list is non-essential stuff but if you can find some items around the house or you are serous about sculpting and don’t mind the additional bit of investment, these will help you out:
  12. Masking tape – available at pretty much anywhere that sells stationery or hardware.
  13. Super Sculpey Firm – I think I’ve only seen this at Barnes and Dalchem. It’s more pricey than Super Sculpey but is excellent for extremely fine detail and is stronger once baked. You can also kneed it together with Super Sculpey to create a clay that has properties somewhere in the middle.
  14. Araldite – Sold at hardware stores (eg Bunnings) and some supermarkets. Great for holding wire skeletons together and fixing broken sculptures!
  15. A tough old paintbrush: Used for scraping clay crumbs off the sculpture and also for raking the clay surface.
  16. Softer old paintbrushes (that you never want to use for painting again): used for brushing/ polishing the clay in the final stages
  17. See 16.
  18. Apoxie Sculpt – Is a 2-part clay that sets in about 4 hours (no drying or baking as it is a chemical reaction) into an extremely tough material that bonds to just about anything. It’s paintable and bake-able. You can use it to give strength to your wire skeleton, fix broken parts or sculpt on new parts to an already baked sculpture. I have only seen it at Barnes and Dalchem. It’s also good to have gloves for mixing this stuff and also for the isopropyl alcohol.
  19. Isopropyl alcohol is basically a medium strength solvent when used on sculpey clay. You can use it for smoothing the surface of the sculpture or cleaning up smudges left behind by sculpey clay. You can find it at most hardware stores (eg Bunnings). Gloves are good when working with this stuff as it dries out your hands.

So that’s it! Let me know if you have any questions/ suggestions or are interested in joining via the contact form. I may consider pushing the date back a week if too many people have trouble finding the items in time.

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