The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Sculpture Workshop with Lucianne Lassalle

This is going to be great. I'm going to learn a whole new raft of skills and gain a whole new set of experiences.

A little later...

What the hell am I doing here? I can't do this. I'm way out of my depth. What a stupid bloody decision to come along!

A little later...

This is so cool! Look at what I can do with this tool. Look how it cuts and shapes and moulds!

A little later...

I'm useless! I'll never get the hang of this! I'm the only one who hasn't done this before. Everyone else knows what they're doing. All I'm doing is embarrassing myself and everyone else!

A little later...

I am amazing! Look at this - behold my mighty creation! If I carry on like this I could become a world class sculptor with adoring fans throwing themselves and their money at me!

A little later...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.... Run away! Run away! Run away!

And so it went on. For 4 days my emotions were up and down and all over the place as I tried to get to grips with working in 3 dimensions on a clay sculpture workshop with artist, Lucianne Lassalle.

3 years ago I joined a life drawing class - not because I wanted to become a pencil artist - but to see if it would influence my photography. Every time the model would emerge, I would know exactly what I would do with the camera and lighting, but I couldn't do it. Instead, I had to find a way to translate what I was looking at through my hand and a pencil and onto a sheet of paper.

It was exasperating, frustrating, challenging, terrifying and amazing. There hasn't been a single class I've ever been to where at some point I haven't wanted to run screaming from the room and never pick up a pencil again. And yet I stuck with it.

Over time I became aware it was subtly changing the way I looked things - at line, form and the body - and this in turn fed into my photography.

Creativity doesn't happen in the status quo - it happens when our brains think in different ways - and putting ourselves out of our comfort zones, and learning new things, helps with creating new pathways in the brain.

2 years ago I did some product photography for Lucianne - photographing several of her brilliant sculptures for her. Rather than ask for cash, I requested a space on one of her workshops.

It's taken this long to coincide with time and place, but this weekend past I finally got to play with clay and begin to learn how to create in 3 dimensions.

I'm now quite adept at working in 2D - this is what photography (and life drawing ) is. You look to create the illusion of depth, but the image only has to work from one side.

By contrast, I discovered in 3D it can look fantastic from 3 sides and seriously naff from the 4th. But when you change the 4th side it can throw out or even completely destroy the carefully crafted lines that look so good from the other sides.

My brain has been twisted into meltdown several times.

However, I am delighted with my final creation. It is way beyond anything I could have hoped for, and could never have achieved without such a wonderful teacher and superb model.

Here are a few pics of the progress...


Day one, we created maquettes - small (about 5 or 6 inches long), very quickly made clay "sketches" - done in about 10 or 15 minutes, just to get an idea of the shape.


As we started into day 2, I began working out how to create the basic structure - still in maquette mode - using cone shapes for the thighs/buttocks and upper arms/shoulders.


The rest of the limbs and a tubular torso were played with as I thought about the abstract-ish design I wanted to pursue


By the start of day 3 I had my basic sculpture created (it's probably around 16 inches-ish long), but still hadn't worked out what I was going to do with the head, which seemed to break the flow. The hips weren't the way I wanted them either


Lucianne took this photo of me as I was finishing off on Day 4. It now as the curves and flow I was seeking. In the background another student is going for a different interpretation. I loved the fact everyone in the room created something in a completely different style, even though we'd all been working from the same model.


Another shot from the bottom end

Now all I have to do is allow it to dry out over the next couple of months, and if it survives that process I can get it fired in September.

Fingers crossed...

If you would like to do a sculpture workshop with Lucianne Lassalle, then contact her on contact@luciannelassalle.com or visit her website - http://www.luciannelassalle.com/ - or Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/lucianne.lassalle.sculpture/

10 comments

hope said...

I commend you for taking on something new. Fingers crossed that the firing is also a success. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss :)

Roschelle Nelson said...

Such a treat to see you're still at it. I do miss blogging. Good luck with sculpting. So far...so good

Kim Ayres said...

Roschelle - lovely to hear from you again! I hope life is treating you well :)

Ponita in Real Life said...

Well done, Kim!! Fingers crossed that it dries evenly and fires well. Can't wait to see the finished sculpture.

I love working with clay! I took pottery lessons years ago, and learned to throw pots on the wheel, how to glaze and a few other things. I have some of the pots in my livingroom. I would love to get at it again one day. There is something so very satisfying about being able to manipulate the clay from a block into something completely wonderful!

Kim Ayres said...

Ponita - I think you have to get back into it. You're right, there's something amazing about the physicality of moulding clay through the fingers :)

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

I love this: "Creativity doesn't happen in the status quo - it happens when our brains think in different ways - and putting ourselves out of our comfort zones, and learning new things, helps with creating new pathways in the brain."

Kim Ayres said...

Neena - I'm glad you get it :)

Pat said...

I really like the final figure. It is now September. Are you going to fire it? I think you should.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - it has indeed been handed over for firing. There's no guarantee it will survive the process though. Fingers crossed...

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