Usually in my work I have an idea of where the piece will go. This time I didn’t and started to sculpt the head without even knowing the gender. This shows the head being built up with slabs.
A face is starting to come forward. The cuts in the clay indicate anatomical markers.
A face has emerged of a woman, but I still don’t have a feel for who she is. I have a feeling she is Middle Eastern. I Google on that to see images of women with Middle Eastern features.
Though I don’t mention acid, two different searches lead to pages of women with acid burns. I feel she is one of them.
I start reading about acid attacks on women. I see a woman that resembles the face that I have sculpted. I start working on her burned areas and I treat that area the way a burn unit would work on an acid-melted face. I repeatedly add thin layers of clay, then scraping each down.
I am going through some kind of process with her. I feel a deep sorrow.
As I work with the other side of her face, I feel a sense of compassion from her.
I get a sense that she is a strong woman. She is a survivor with her dignity intact.
I add her hijab, and slightly change her expression.
Here she has gone through the kiln and a smoke firing. She has gone through the fire and her spirit is still strong.
I have always loved elephants and decided I wanted to make a large elephant. I started with 325 pounds of clay, beating it together to get a basic shape.
Here the shape is emerging. Though I could see the legs were not long enough, she was too heavy to lift to add more clay.
After shaping the elephant I then had to cut her apart and completely hollow her out. I left some structural supports inside to help with strength. I also lengthened her legs.
Here she is put back together.
Now details start being added.
I continue to add details. Glass eyes are a placeholder, and will be removed before the firing.
I am still carving the wrinkles in the hind area.
She is finished being sculpted, and you can see her size!
The eyes are removed. The kiln had to be taken apart to put her in, and then rebuilt around her. She has some initial stains and underglazes.
After the first firing, she was taken out and then a finish glaze put on. She was then fired for the last time.