Clay Expression
The Art & Craft of Expressing Passion with Clay
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Clay, My Lady Clay - Sculptor from Iran

By Kian Nahid, sculptor from Iran

Terracotta, or simply clay, is the main medium in sculpting, pottery and ceramics. For at least 7000 years, human race has shaped, fired, and used this substance for various purposes nearly all over the globe.

In many holy books, it is mentioned that God created the very first human using clay. In many poems, rituals, beliefs, and traditions, this fact that clay is the source and destiny of all living things has been emphasised... and as you have mentioned earlier, clay consistency and appearance is so similar to flesh and skin!

When you start to make a clay statue, the very first rule is to know the clay. In my opinion, clay is a mysterious, proud, and sensitive young lady.

You do not just make a statue out of her; she lets you shape her, because that’s what she wants in the first place! In order to this, you must feed her, prepare her and make her feel energetic and fresh, then you will be granted permission to help her get shaped, and she fulfils her desire through your mind and hands.




 
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If you ever think you are the master, clay won’t argue or haggle, she is too noble to do so;  she’d simply show her disappointment in you by some unwanted cracks or unpleasant changes to the original shape…so be careful, always show respect and you will be rewarded!

When dealing with other materials, you may leave your work at any time you wish to continue at another suitable time. Wood, stone, wax, are all good examples. The only substance you must think about and set a time when you wish to start working on it, and get prepared for, is clay!

After starting the shaping process of a clay statue, she does not, can’t, and shouldn’t wait for you to stop your work and come back to her when you are ready. So to avoid interruptions, begin working only when you believe you are absolutely free to be at her service, in a full-time manner.

Even during the time you are working on her, or when you leave her after a certain point of shaping, make sure to feed her and keep her in a safe, suitable and moist area if you care about your artwork! When you’ve been working on her for a long time, you can’t just leave her naked; you‘d better cover her top with a cloth so as not to let her get dry or sunburned!

Don’t forget to provide support and help for your clay statue during the shaping process. She may not complain of any stress or pressure on her body but some gradual changes, small cracks and wrinkles will warn you about the possible and impending breaks and fallings.

So be careful and always inspect your artwork to provide support as soon as you feel it is required. Her fragile body can’t tolerate the pull of gravity by herself.

Clay passes different levels of humidity till it is dry and ready for firing. At every level, she must be treated accordingly. When she is damp, you can shape her dramatically with your fingers and palm of your hands, but when time passes by, clay gets drier and harder to manipulate.

It means that you should be more careful, and use more delicate shaping tools to do what you intend to, and keep in mind that when she is ‘younger’, you may be able to fix or undo your errors, but after a certain age of her formation process, your mistakes can not be forgiven easily, and you have to be more careful about the way you treat her.

After finishing the first stage of forming the clay, careful attention is required to keep the clay safe from any problem posed by heat, wind, shakes and shocks during the drying process. You must let her dry in a very smooth way and not   leave her on her own; you have to check on her frequently and regularly to make sure everything is alright!!!

Firing the clay statue makes her immortal, and must be performed by the expert. After that, your mission as a sculptor is over, and her eternal life starts.

 

 

 

 

 

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