20 August 2013

Creativity Journal - Day 20 (Clay)

Buy or make some clay (see instructions on page 238) and then use it like you never have before.
What's this? Two posts in one day? The boats have been sitting around for a couple of days and I've been mulling over the clay adventure. My thoughts went:

- "Use it like you never have before" - that's the easy bit. I haven't used clay since high school, so really anything would count as a new experience.
- Clay and fabric don't really mix. I could make some sort of patchwork pattern on clay. But what would I use it for? That becomes clutter.
- Clay and words might work. But again, what would I use it for? More clutter.
- What I really want is some sculptures in the garden. Hmmm, where does one get that much clay? Maybe I could change the rules and work with something other than clay.
- Let's see ... plaster doesn't last in the weather.
- Concrete? Need a mould. Hmm, too difficult.
- Ah, hebel. Hebel is a lightweight aerated concrete sold in blocks or panels. For some reason I remember someone telling me about it years ago.

So, the plan became research hebel, buy hebel, carve hebel. I've never carved anything other than the occasional roast dinner, so it could be an interesting adventure. I started, where everyone starts all projects these days, my friend, Google. There are some beautiful hebel sculptures. There are some weird ones too, but lots of a lovely stuff I wouldn't mind having in my garden.

Bunnings, which sells the stuff, even tells you how to make sculptures with it.

I 'pinned' a few I thought were doable. I quickly realised that intricate, interwoven abstracts probably weren't a good place for a complete novice to start. This swan really appealed, but I think even this would be stretching it for a first attempt. I could just see me managing to snap the neck in two.

As I thought about 'releasing the angel inside' (apparently a quote by Michelangelo) I got a bit bug-eyed about the whole enterprise. Although hebel is quite cheap as a sculpture material ($10 for a 600x200x200mm block), I didn't want to end up with a huge block of masonry that like a pile a rubble (or was a pile of rubble). Although, if my pile looked like this ...

I did see a number of owls I liked (they're mainly the ones I ended up pinning). Owls are quite trendy at the moment, but I've always loved owls (and frogmouths). A couple of sculptures that I pinned were very stylised and I realised I could keep it quite simple and still create an impression of an owl.  

I started sketching. I don't do 3D very well. I get tangled in the corners and the angles. I've tried to work out Google Sketch Up, but it just frustrates me. I started back at the beginning of high school tech drawing - a flat image of each side.

I decided to keep the hebel essentially rectangular, with some rounding off on the edges so I could use it as a bird bath stand. The wings and beak will be etched into the stone. The eye saucers will be etched in with the eyes either left raised, or if I stuff it up, painted in, or glow in the dark stones :-)

You may notice from my tenses, that I haven't actually carved this yet. No, because again the 'completely don't know what I'm doing' struck. And here's the irony of this challenge. I decided not to use clay. I decided to sculpt something out of hebel. I decided I need to make a model of my intended sculpture and clay is to most logical choice of material. So, in the end, I did use clay. (No idea what I'm going to do with my owl, but I'm sure he won't be clutter.)

Front view
Side view
Rear view
Having now made my prototype, I will go ahead and buy a hebel block to play with. Still might end up a pile of rubble, but at least now I know what sort of look I'm aiming for and that it does actually work in 3D. Hebel will have one slight advantage. I can mark it up with a pencil, instead of working 'freehand'.

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