Admittedly, sculpture isn’t the easiest art form to practice at home, but you don’t need to start installing a kiln into your kitchen just yet.
There are plenty of at-home ways to practice your modelling skills that don’t require special equipment. Here are our tips for making sculptures at home!
1. Pick your materials
Clay is a perfect sculpting material for beginners because it is easy to use, and if you keep it soft enough it allows for constant alteration as you work. There are plenty of air-drying modelling clays available to buy online or in an art supplies shop and they are an inexpensive way to get used to the feel of moulding a shape with your hands. If clay isn’t you thing, there are other avenues you can explore, including papier maché, plaster cloth wraps such as Mod-Wrap or salt dough.
2. Sketch it out
Experienced sculptors may choose to create a sculpture free-form, but you’ll probably find it easier to sketch out what you’d like to create first. This will help you work out the shapes that will make up the basic form of your sculpture. Work out what will be the largest shapes and also the smaller supporting shapes will be, to give you a helping hand when deciding in what order to build your sculpture.
If you want to create a reasonably-large sized 3D shape, you will first need to create an armature. This is the internal foundations, which make your sculpture strong yet lightweight, a bit like our own skeleton. Most armatures are made out of materials such as wire, kitchen foil, tape and other lightweight materials, if you want spherical shapes, you might want to try using chicken wire or even balloons! You will also need a wooden base for your sculpture to stand on, but you can try using a chopping board.
4. Putting it all together
Make sure you have covered all surfaces with newspaper and that you aren’t wearing precious clothing before you start. You’ll probably want to have a jar of water nearby, which will help moisten your clay to help it stick together. A basic set of sculpting tools can be purchased quite cheaply, but you can also use kitchen equipment just as easily to create different textures to the surface of the sculpture. If you’re using clay, make sure you’ve properly kneaded it so that it is soft and malleable.
5. Keep it balanced
A successful sculpture is one that is balanced. It doesn’t have to be symmetrical – and part of the beauty of sculpture can be its sense of movement – but in order to stand straight and look ‘right’, it needs to be equally weighted on each side. One tip to ensure this is to imagine a line running through the middle, and keep adding or taking away from each side in turn, to make sure your sculpture doesn’t topple over!
Leave your sculpture to air-dry, and you can paint or glaze it after for an extra finish.
Have you tried making sculptures at home? We would love to see photographs of your work! If you want to learn more about the art of sculpture, our skilled tutors will help you develop your passion. Sign up to a class near you! London, Birmingham and Manchester sculpture classes available!
Autor: Clara Tait