For the final workshop of our field module we used the slab building technique and looked at creating the natural figure of trees in clay. We started with a demonstration on the different application of slab building, as the shape of the base and the formation of branches and off shoots where quite different from what we’d done before. The demonstration was other wise quite straight forward and it didn’t take too long before we could get stuck into building our trees.
Building up the figure of my tree was quite different to building the head; as with the tree, the shape of the trunk had to be quite straight and not bow out too much, this wwas easier said than done though. My tree trunk began to come out quite a lot to begin with and tearing and reshaping it was a bit of a task. In the end, my tree became more of an oak tree, with a large bowing base with gnarled old roots and bulges; though this was not really very intentional, to begin with, it became a cool feature of my trees figure, that used to build the rest of my figure inline with.
Once I got to the branches, I found that the separating of the limbs of my trees was quite easy and straight forward, though I did have to be careful not to put too much weight on one side. As I’d built quite a substantial base and trunk to my tree, and therefore used a large portion of clay, the figure of an oak tree proved to be very handy in minimising the length of my trees branches, so that it looked older and more shrunken.
Overall the workshop was a great look at the natural form and figure of trees, building it out of the clay and getting a feel for the weight distribution and formation was really informative of the build properties of clay. In addition to how it can be used in the building of the human form, this workshop considered other natural forms and gave a different perspective on the way that it holds and communicates it’s shape.