This little piece is only 4 inches high. Sometimes the best way to move an idea forward is to play, like a child. Open up new possibilities by making little sculptures that don’t demand firing, special techniques or even clay.
One of my favorite artist documentary films is of Henry Moore. His studio windowsill was filled with little, tiny sculptures in clay and rock and wood. I learned from this the power of imagining, and “sketching” in 3D.
I like to work on the edge of what clay and the ceramic process can do in slabs. It is difficult to bring ideas into reality at full scale. Things like this break, crack, pull themselves apart. When I am stuck in a safe zone and feel my work is not really achieving what I intended, I go back to making maquettes.
In this way, I am able to quickly realize ideas and be playful. I can instantly discard anything I don’t like, I don’t have to worry about if it will make it through the firing process. I can adjust the scale of elements to something I really want – not something I have been repeating because it was too hard to go further at full scale.
As a painter might refine an idea over and over in sketching, so the sculptor refines over and over by making small models. Many will not be attempted at full scale – possibly judged not interesting enough to attempt, or not viable in terms of physics. But these ideas remain on the shelf or windowsill as inspiration, something to strive toward.