Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sturdy armature for new sculpt

 Excitement and enthusiasm for sculpting is a wonderful thing. Impatience is not, however. I've had a few occasions where my excitement over starting a sculpt when I didn't have all my materials ready led to trials and tribulations later.

This time, I'm spending more time in the prep phase which is going to pay off in spades later when I get to real sculpting adventure.

On my last sculpt, "Loss" (working title) I didn't secure the armature 'feet' firmly to the base board, which meant that with jarring, came shifting. Any kind of movement of the armature can create problems and an armature that is weak or prone to movement can wreak havoc on the work.

I reigned in my enthusiasm for my new piece, "Joy" (working title) and set about to make the bones of this sculpt strong. I began by drawing out the template on the baseboard of where the clay base for the sculpt and placement of the feet will be, as this will be a companion piece to "Loss" which is currently at the foundry being poured as a bronze.

Next I used my drill to countersink a hole for the washer and nut that holds the vertical post onto the baseboard. Then I created arms using armature wire and wire sleeves and attached the arms at the shoulder. The arms are long at the moment and I will cut the excess off once I start laying in the anatomy. Measure twice and cut once - a wire that is too short is useless.

Finally, I marked where the bottom of the feet will be on the leg wires and then hammered nails over the remaining wire ends to secure them firmly to the board. No shifting! It's a bit awkward looking - you have to keep in mind that there is going to be clay on the base that covers this up and the feet are actually higher up on the leg wire. You can see that I started to wrap some fine gage wire around the armature wires. I don't always do this, but some clays need more to grip onto than just the smooth single armature wire. By wrapping wire I give the clay a lot of area to grab onto and hold tight.

This sculpt will measure about 15" tall by 15" long by 6" wide when complete.

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