How to Make Clay Art Animals: Mammal Heads

How to Make Clay Art Animals

How to make clay art animals

I’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 figurative animal sculpture

In this video excerpt, I’m sharing a clip in which Lisa demonstrates sculpting a rabbit’s head. Though, 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. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

P.S. To see the narrated version of this in real time, pick up a copy of the Narrative Animal Sculpture video!

Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture

Get a taste of the exciting and diverse range of ceramic sculpture being made today when you download this freebieContemporary Ceramic Sculpture.


Interested in Learning How to Make Clay Art Animals?

Animals have long been used as symbols in storytelling all around the world, and visual artists have been using animal figures in artwork for just as long. This clip was excerpted from Narrative Animal Sculpture: Telling Stories with Clay and Found Objects, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Shop! Lisa Naples is the perfect guide to learning to sculpt clay animals!

Pick up your copy today!


Immortal Hare

Lisa Naples resides in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where she makes pottery and narrative sculpture from her barn studio. In 1988, she earned her MFA in ceramics from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has given lectures and workshops at Penland School of Craft, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and other noted ceramic workshop centers. Her work has been exhibited at the James A. Michener Art Museum, the Washington Craft Show, Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Shows, and other juried shows around the United States. To learn more about Lisa Naples or to see more images of her work, please visit

**First published in 2015.
  • Linda D.

    This was an excellent video, the close ups were perfect and you made it look so easy with the beginning technique. I was about to do rabbits for easter so this was awesome. Thanks.

  • Thank you so much Lisa. It is a brilliant video. Clear,fast and beautifully effective.
    You are a star.
    All the Best
    Maria Bendixen

  • Kerrie W.

    Thankyou for the info about the clay Lisa – have just downloaded your video, can’t wait to watch the whole thing.

  • Linda S.

    Hi Karen Tremmel,

    Thanks for sending us an message. We apologize for the technical issues you were facing from your download. A staff member from Ceramic Arts Daily sent you a new email confirmation yesterday (July 21), were you able to receive your new download?

    If not, please let us know. We want you to be able to enjoy your new download!

    The Ceramic Arts Daily Team

  • Lisa N.

    Thanks everyone for your comments! Kerrie, I’m using a custom red body that I developed myself. I’ve used many commercial bodies while teaching around the country though and find that if you ask for a “red earthenware containing no aggregate (no sand or grog)” you’ll get something akin to my body. Best, Lisa

  • Kerrie W.

    This is so beautiful – thankyou for sharing your technique. Can I ask what type of clay is being used? It looks so soft and pliable. I’m new to handbuilding but the clay I’ve been using isn’t so smooth. thanks!

  • Karen T.

    Lisa Naples, Narrative Animal Sculpture: Tried, without success, all day Friday (after purchasing the download version early Friday) to Get the download version of Lisa Naples, Narrative Animal Sculpture video. Made several calls and sent several emails throughout the day, but never received the download confirmation email.

    If it was me, and I knew what I do now, I’d wait until next week before purchasing any downloads. There definitely seems to be a problem. Jus’ Sayin’

  • Rosanne M.

    very interesting –she used a metal cone for the body—not seen that before—-i make animal totems

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