Narrative Animal Sculpture with Lisa Naples

If you are interested in learning how to make clay art animals, Lisa Naples is the perfect guide. In this installment of the Ceramic Arts Presents Video Series, Lisa Naples shares...(Scroll for more.)

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Runtime: 2 hours 20 minutes

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…her insights and techniques on sculpting animals in clay to tell stories.

How to Sculpt Clay 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. Lisa begins this video with a mixed media project, explaining not only the ins and outs of sculpting convincing mammal forms in clay, but also the technical issues of building clay pieces to successfully mesh with non clay materials. She also explores the process of pairing animal parts with pottery forms, creating a sculptural bird vase. In addition, Lisa shows how to make the figures come alive through her fabulous brush work and dry-brush slip application. Throughout the video, Lisa shares her insights on how to play with ideas and incorporate symbolism and meaning into your work.

Simple Beginning, A Multitude of Results

Lisa demonstrates in detail two methods for figure sculpting: hollow and solid construction. She begins with the hollow construction of a rabbit head, which starts out as nothing more than a simple pinch pot. Lisa explains that using this easy technique and referencing online images or anatomy books, you can create virtually any mammal head. You’ll see in the examples of work by Lisa’s students how versatile, and accessible, this technique is.

Mixing Media

While explaining the nuances of the rabbit form, Lisa demonstrates how to pair clay parts with found objects. Throughout the process she discusses both the aesthetic concerns of creating mixed media sculpture, as well as the technical challenges of successfully combining clay objects with non clay materials.

Pottery and Sculpture Hybrids

Lisa also explores the process of pairing animal parts with pottery forms, creating a sculptural bird vase. After throwing a vase form and explaining how the formed developed out of play, process, and practice, she demonstrates the solid construction process for the bird body. All the way through, she explains technical challenges and design decisions in a straightforward way that will help you troubleshoot in your own studio.

Finishing Touches

In addition, Lisa shares an east technique for adapting figures to hang on the wall and makes the figures come alive through her fabulous brush work and signature dry-brush slip application. Plus, bonus features include an overview of dry brush slip techniques, how to thicken up your slip in 10 minutes or less, how to use a two-part epoxy, slip and glaze recipes, and more!

About the Artist

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. In 2005, Lisa was awarded an NCECA Residency Award at Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. To learn more about Lisa, please visit www.lisanaples.com.

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