Figrative Modeling: slab building

As an introduction to building and modeling, we spent a day of our field module building figurative heads using a technique called ‘slab building’; a ceramics technique that builds using slabs of clay, much in the same manner as coiling when making a pot.
It was quite hard to do without the form folding in and collapsing on itself; I lost my heads neck pretty early on due to the fact that I didn’t build it strong enough to hold up the heavy head, but it was a really fun and easy way to build. getting to spend an entire day building in studio 5 was a great way to spend our time. it had been quite a while since I’d last had the time to do such a large clay build, but I got into it quite quickly and found it quite easy to get back into the modeling of the facial features.
Once we had the hole form and had added in all the facial features of our heads, we then looked at how we could add to the forms with slip and then engraving into the slip to add a pattern or design.
To do this we used two different colours of slip and the scraped it away. I used a white slip for the initial covering and then dripped the pale green slip over the top; dripping off the ears and on top of the head. I then used outlines and some contour lines to add definition of the head and to create a better sense of shape to the head, following the line of the cheek bones and the nose. It was a relatively simple design, but I based it on how I use line work in my illustrations and unfortunately didn’t have time to go back to it once we’d finished for the day.


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