The Art Of Margaret Warfield

Body Parts, The Making of "Dare"

Polymer Clay SculptingMargaret Warfield1 Comment

A look into the making of "The Collective" a series of hand-crafted sculptures

Step One

Each character in, “The Collective”, begins with conditioning the polymer clay. This process involves either kneading the clay by hand or running it through a dedicated pasta machine. After conditioning, the clay, I shape the head and neck.  For some reason I do not think the head is complete until I place the ears on the head. You would think that the hair would be the next step, but, the hair is the last element that determines the final character of each sculpture. Often, I stop at this point, to allow the impending figure to tell me more about who she wants to become. 
Step Two
With, “Dare”, I shaped the arms using a mixture of aqua, pomegranate and yellow polymer clay. Then the hands were made and attached. The process of attaching the hands once formed: I slice the wrist apply liquid clay and smooth the clay from the arm to cover a portion of the hand. I use a live model, as a guide, to make sure that the thumbs and figures are anatomically correct.  All too often hands or feet are made and the thumb or hallux (big toe) is on the wrong side. “Who is my model”? Me. I use my hands and feet as my reference material. 

Step Three
More conditioning of clay, “Dare’s” torso was made using the colors mentioned above, since I planned to use those colors for her blouse. The process of making the torso begins with determining the ratio between the head and the torso. This step also controls the length of the legs and arms. Did I mention this earlier? All of the, body parts, start by forming a ball.  With my finger’s, after a ball is molded, I flatted the clay, somewhat, into the shape of the torso, remembering to mold the clay to allow for the addition of the arms and legs. 
Step Four
The making of, “Dare’s”, legs and feet was based on the size of the head and torso. I, again, used the colors aqua, pomegranate and yellow for the legs. Next step, the feet were made, with bronze clay, the color that was chosen for the head and hands. Making sure that the hallux (big toe) was in the correct place, I attached the feet to the legs.
Step Five
Assembling the body parts, I usually attach the legs first and decide the position the sculpture will assume. Next, the arms are fastened to the torso. And finally the head is attached. At this point I bake the sculpture for ten minutes. While the sculpture cools, I condition the selected color for the hair. “Dare’s” hair color is gold. Each strain of hair is rolled into a tiny ball then into a coil and attached with liquid polymer clay.

Step Six
 Now it is time for the final baking, thirty minutes in the oven, the cool down and glazing, This is the final step in the birth of another character in “The Collective”.