Sunday, October 28, 2007

Self "mock up"

If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know this work using self portraits has been "under development" for months. I decided to post a mock-up of the installation I am planning around the work. I hope you'll excuse the poor quality of the hand-drawn components - you can tell I don't have a graphics tablet and had to sketch with the mouse....they do say it's like drawing with a cake of soap, and I have to agree!

The full piece will incorporate the following components:

  1. a raw clay portrait with an inkjet transfer;
  2. the fallen clay shards "pieced" together;
  3. a fired clay concertina book with photos showing the progression of the raw clay; and
  4. the final portrait embedded in wax and framed.

I only have the clay concertina book left to finish. I am working on the photos now and will post some of them soon. I plan to send them off to be made into ceramic decals when they are ready. These will be fired onto the work as the final stage.

I'm also testing three different porcelain clays to see which I like the best for this work. One is a paper porcelain, which is porcelain clay with paper added. This makes the clay easier to handle and to repair if cracking occurs. I've never used it before and am not sure how it will look when fired. Paperclay has the potential to be re-worked and joined once the clay has dried and I realized that this opens up the working time, which would be a great advantage to me. Normally with clay, you have to keep it pretty moist until the work is finished, and if it dries out before you are done, the work is lost. Paperclay could make it much easier for me to do more clay work, and this prospect has me quite excited.


  1. Amanda this is fantastic! I really love how you will include the fallen clay shards in your installation, that alone conjures up all kinds of things that I personally can relate to.
    I think you've done exceptionally well drawing with the mouse, my arm is aching just thinking about it!

  2. Wow, paperclay, hadn’t known such a thing existed, sounds intriguing and somehow beautiful. Will you fire it in the end or does it just get hard by drying?
    Your self-portrait is such an exciting project, I like that you use different ‘angles’ of looking at/re/presenting yourself, the various materials and media you bring together and how all these elements communicate will with each other. The installation is interesting too: work on the wall, some on the ground, some on a plinth. Can’t wait to see more.
    PS. I love Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculpture, it is incredible.

  3. Thanks Azirca - it's always good to know which parts of an artwork communicate most powerfully.

    Marjojo - I really appreciate your comments. I have been focusing so strongly on the materiality of the different pieces, and your comment has brought my attention back to the space. That is the part I find most challenging, partly because it's so hard to set things up to test different arrangements exactly as I want in the studio.

    Paperclay has been around for about 10 years that I know of, but probably longer. You do fire it, and when you do, the paper burns away completely. Consequently the work is much lighter than pure clay, so it is really good for large works. You can also construct armatures for large pieces from paperclay and then build it up to full size once the armature is dry, and then fire the whole thing. Here is a pic of a piece which shows the sort of thing you can make. It is 55cm high - it would be almost impossible to do with regular clay.

  4. Sorry, that link was cut off. Here's the tiny url:

  5. Hello Amanda

    I was just having a quick look on my Flickr album and wanted to find the post where you mentioned about considering buying THAT slab roller. I had a look at the url you gave and it LOOKS like it would be OK. However do you know anyone who has one of these? TO find out more about potential multiple uses. Of course it would be most ideal if you could get someone to allow you to try it out? I imagine it is fairly costly ( I did not catch the price as I was focusing on its specs.) Good luck oh and thanks for that spontaneous email you sent me a little while back. It so happened it arrived on one of my blue days so it was lovely to receive. you're a sweetie !!