Sculpting in Porcelain, lets make a Unicorn


So, you want to sculpt?

I can’t always tell you what to do right, but I am very good at learning what not to do.I have had explosions, meltings, kiln malfunctions, and clay failure, and that is just in the past six months. Although I have been sculpting since 1992 in porcelain, the past few months have been a challenge on my ego as well as on my purse.
Why a Unicorn? ok, there are fun. You can make them anyway you want, as far as your imagination will take you. No one can tell you you made it wrong because other than resembling a horse, they have a horn. The rest is up to you to define and create.
Starting with a bag of porcelain clay…..
Ok, get out your notebooks here, Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 °C (2,192 °F) and 1,400 °C (2,552 °F). The toughness, strength, and translucence of porcelain arise mainly from the formation of glass and the mineral mullite within the fired body at these high temperatures . (wikipedia.com)
Got it? step one complete, -got clay.
Now, let’s sculpt.
First shape the body and add some legs, I make the legs by rolling out cylinders, then shaping the forms. Use water, as porcelain will start to crack as it dries out. When attaching legs and other parts, use a wet clay slip (really runny wet clay), it will act like a glue to keep your legs, arms etc attached.
After adding the front legs, add the back

Shape a head, attach it to the neck, obviously, unless you enjoy some sort of weird modern art.
With a reverse side of a small paint brush,, poke 2 small holes for eye sockets. I rolled two small balls of blue porcelain and inserted them in the holes.
At this point, I add a small piece of black porcelain for pupils then a white dot for a highlight.
I then swirled 2 small cylinders together to make a horn, and added ears. Remember at this point, the clay is kept soft, and changes can be made to the particular pose you may want.Is he looking at you? Behind you at the faerie, floating over your shoulder? What ever he may be looking at or thinking, think of this when adding the eye lids, too heavy, he may look sleepy, nap time. Too high, he is just surprised.
I use a small extruder for the next step, adding the mane and tail, this part is fun, you can make the hair as long, thick,this or curly as you want. There are different sizes of the dies inserted into the mini extruder, for the look you want. Squirt it out, have fun. Don’t forget to add water to the neck area where applying this, or it won’t stay attached as it dries out. A hairless horsie!

All of a sudden you have a creature looking at you, can he breathe? have you created nostrils, how about a mouth?

Here I decorated him, I guess he is now a she, with some pink flowers and green leaves, still needs a little something, so I add a bird for her to talk to.

Now the hard part, waiting she goes into the kiln after thoughly drying out, if she is wet, KAAABOOMMMMM!

Shrapnel everywhere in kiln. Pieces destroyed, a big mess to clean up, so we wait and let her dry out, usually about 2 weeks.

Here she is , sitting in kiln with the others.

Updates coming soon, watch for bisque firing, next, the glazing, then golding……..

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