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Published Aug 5, 2019

When sculpting the human head, Melisa Cadell starts with a thick cylinder so she is able to add volume and life both from the inside and outside.

In this post, an excerpt from her video Figure Sculpting in Clay, Melisa demonstrates two ways to approach sculpting eyes in clay. Check it out…it’s eye-opening! – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor


Sculpting Eyes in Clay

This clip was excerpted from Figure Sculpting in Clay, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop!

To learn more about Melisa Cadell or to see more images of her work, please visit

Want more figure sculpture tips? Check out these three articles and "go figure!"

Coil Building Expressive Ceramic Sculpture

Sculpting Eyes in ClayCeramic sculptor Arthur Gonzalez was trained as a photorealist painter, but grew to dislike the control and predictability of that genre. So it is no surprise that when he discovered ceramics (not exactly known for its predictability!) he became hooked. He explains, "I can instantly materialize a thought and then destroy it if it does not deliver what I need." This immediacy satisfies a love of exploration. In this post, Edith Garcia explains how Arthur approaches his coil-built figurative clay sculpture.

How to Make Clay Art Animals: Mammal Heads

Sculpting Eyes in ClayI’ve been interested in learning how to make clay art animals for a long time, but as a functional potter, I have found it difficult to break out of my comfort zone. As both an animal lover and a clay lover (not to mention a big fan of the lovely Lisa Naples), Lisa’s video Narrative Animal Sculpture renewed this interest in exploring animal sculpture.

For this clip, I’m sharing a (much-condensed) clip in which Lisa demonstrates sculpting a rabbit’s head – but as she points out, the process can be applied to all mammals with special attention paid to the unique features of each one. I love the versatility of this technique.

Sketching in Space: How to Get a Quick Start on Sculpting the Hand

Sculpting Eyes in ClayFigure is not an area of ceramics that I have explored much probably because it seems like such an overwhelming endeavor. But watching Melisa Cadell’s video Figure Sculpting in Clay, made me want to give it a try.

In this excerpt, Melisa shows how you can start off with a simple tracing of your own hand on a slab of clay and quickly create a “claysketch” by adding and taking away clay. It is pretty cool how quickly this fairly convincing hand comes together. Though this clip doesn’t take us through to the final refinements of the sculpture, it will help dispel the fears you may have about sculpting the figure because it is such a practical way to approach it.

**First published in 2015