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Is it finished? And Brigitte Jurack.

I have been working on other sculptures apart from this head, which I will put up shortly. However, one thing I have been wanted to do, is finish the head and resolve any issues around it.

For me it was almost finished. I was toying with the idea to add hair, change the ears, open up the back of the head and add an embryo (see sketches). However, I was very aware that it in fact has seemed to have come to a point of finishing.

If I add or change anything, would I again run the risk of spoiling it?I decided to try and get hold of Steve Dixon or Brigitte Jurack as they have got a lot more experience in terms of figurative sculpture work than I have. Steve was away and Brigitte said she would meet up.

Meeting with Brigitte.

The meeting went well. Brigitte was impressed by the scale of the work and was very helpful in terms of the technical aspects of it.

I asked about the idea of opening the back of the head up and adding an embryo/baby sculpture inside. She said the clay was still wet enough to do that, but it would be very risky as the front of the head maybe to heavy, once I have taken off the back and it might fall or drop. It was a possibility and I could easily prop up the chin at the front. But it was a risk.

She was pragmatic and practical. after a lengthy discussion, I decided it was best not to take the risk. As I was making other heads now and as Brigitte mentioned, I had now got a feel for the clay and it probably best to make another head. Which is what I had been contemplating.

So the drying out process, needs to be managed as the clay will be and is at different stages of drying. Brigitte suggested making a newspaper covering, so there is no draft and cover the bottom of the bust in plastic as that is at a very different stage of drying.

Plus at this stage when the clay is leather hard it is in fact important not to move the piece as the molecules are fixed and it can cause the sculpture a lot of stress, which will cause hairline fractures.

Furthermore if such fractures/cracks are made an easy way of fixing them is with vinegar- the chemical process seems to do the trick.

We talked also about glazes/ slips/ oxides.

As Brigitte has more experience, whilst she makes her work she can visualize the colors. I prefer not to use colors and prefer the color of the raw material. An oxide Brigitte advice, may not work. So I need to make mock ones to see the outcome if I am going to use a slip/oxide.

I would probably like the head to be quite a dark brown. Brigitte suggested make some mocks and take it one step at a time. So see what it looks like firstly when biscuit fired and go from there.

The above advice was more than helpful.

I am worried about the piece… the process of making, drying and firing is quite nerve racking. As anything can happen in that process. But I tend to worry a lot anyhow.

However I am please that one sculpture is resolved and is ready to be fired.

So it is finished.

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