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How to Make Clay Sculptures?

Clay sculpture, commonly known as “color sculpture” clay art is a traditional Chinese folk and ancient common folk art. That is, with clay molded into a variety of images of a folk handicraft. The production method is the clay mixed with a little cotton fiber, pounded, and pinched into a variety of characters made of clay blanks, after drying, coated with primer, and then color painting. It takes clay as raw material, kneaded into shape by hand, or plain or colored, mainly figures and animals. Clay sculpture in folklore is commonly known as “color sculpture”, or “clay play”.

Clay sculpture production process

The basic material of clay sculpture – clay needs to be carefully prepared, usually clay with some viscosity and delicate soil, after pounding, wrestling, kneading, and sometimes adding some cotton wool, paper, honey, and so on in the clay. The molding of clay sculpture is generally divided into four steps: making a child, turning the mold, stripping, and coloring. The production of a child is the production of prototypes, finding a piece of clay and good, the use of carving, shaping, kneading, and other techniques, shaping a good image, after modification, polishing, drying can be, and in some places, but also with the fire, to enhance the strength. Turning the mold is to press the clay in the original shape printed into a mold, common single-piece mold and double-piece mold, there are also multiple pieces of mold. The tire is to use mold printing and pressing the mud person blank tire, usually, the first and good mud is rolled into a sheet, and then pressed into the mold, and then the two pieces of pressed mud mold together and pressed, and then a “bottom”, that is, in the lower part of the mud person stuck on a piece of mud, so that the mud person hollow outside the strict, leave a hole in the body, so that the tire inside and outside of the air circulation, to avoid the tire inside the air pressure The last process is coloring. The last process is coloring, known as “three parts plastic, seven parts color” said. General coloring before the first layer of primer to keep the surface clean, easy to absorb the color of the color, color pigments more supplies color, adjusted to the water glue to strengthen the color adhesion.

Maintenance of clay figurines

There are many reasons for the breakage of clay figurines, including human damage and natural damage.

  1. Natural factors include the influence of humidity, water-soluble salts and changes in the internal structure of the support, the growth of microorganisms, changes in the physical climate (usually refers to the temperature and humidity), sun, rain, and sand attack, the role of atmospheric pollutants and so on. In addition, incorrect restoration methods and the use of some inappropriate restoration materials, also tend to accelerate the deterioration of clay sculpture.
  2. The common lesions of clay sculpture are mainly empty dropsy, flaking, crispy powder, cracking armor, blistering, peeling off the skin, picture fading, discoloration, and pollution (mold, insect feces, smoke, etc.). It is important to create a good protective environment for the long-term preservation of clay sculptures. Preventing the occurrence of lesions is more important than treating lesions. Only eliminate, and produce the root cause of lesions, to fundamentally protect the mud sculpture.
  3. The protection of clay sculpture is important to control the humidity. Because the humidity is the most dangerous factor in making the mural lesions. Buildings should maintain good ventilation conditions, which has great significance for the preservation of the integrity of the mud sculpture. Walls should pay attention to maintain natural ventilation, the air inside the building should be kept clean and dry, and the vicinity of the building should not have clumps of weeds. In the preservation of frescoes in the environment, the temperature and humidity should be appropriate, and relatively stable, up and down changes can not be too strong. As long as this can be done, mold and other microorganisms will be difficult to grow and develop.
  4. To avoid the influence of light, absolutely no direct sunlight to the clay sculpture. If you have excluded the excessive moisture, generally speaking in the dark to save more favorably. It is best to use artificial light source lighting, so that it is easy to control the degree of illumination, and more effectively eliminate the damage of light on the clay sculpture. To prevent dust, soot, and all kinds of harmful gases on the harm of clay sculpture. As a personal collection of small and medium-sized clay molding, should also comply with the above storage matters.

Three general methods of making clay molds:

Method 1: Pinch Molding Method

  1. Prepare enough clay and choose a suitable color and texture.
  2. Knead the clay into a uniform ball.
  3. Start kneading with the fingers and palms of the hands, first determining the basic shapes, such as the head, body, and limbs. Tools can be used to assist, such as knives and toothpicks.
  4. Continue to refine the details of each part, adding facial features, clothing textures, and so on.
  5. After completing the work, place it in a ventilated and dry place for curing.

Method 2: Molding

  1. Prepare a mold, either use a ready-made mold or make your own.
  2. Knead the clay into a uniform ball.
  3. Place the clay into the mold and press it with your fingers to fill the mold.
  4. Tap the mold gently to loosen the clay from the mold.
  5. Check the piece for completeness, trimming, and touching up if needed.

Method 3: Carving

  1. Prepare materials that are hard and suitable for carving, such as hard clay, plaster, etc.
  2. According to the design drawings or imagination, use a knife to start carving the desired shape from the block material.
  3. Begin with the overall shape and gradually refine the details of each part.
  4. Pay attention to the strength and direction of the carving to avoid injuring yourself or damaging the work.
  5. When you have finished your work, you can polish and color it.


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