SUSAN LEYLAND

     
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                                             From Clay To Horse Sculpture

Sculpture sketches fix ideas. The clay transforms the ideas into sculpture.

The first stage is to mould the clay into the basic shape. I cover the clay with water sprayed plastic between working periods to enable the clay to become firm slowly. This system maintains the outside of the sculpture damp and workable. The working and leaving process is repeated as many times as necessary until the shape, feeling, detail and surface are right. In the photographs one can see the tools and materials which I used while working. When the sculpture has hardened on the outside but it is still soft on the inside, it is hollowed or perforated with a metal rod so that the clay is not too thick. The hollowed sculpture must have an air escape hole and any other holes made must not be closed otherwise the it will burst during firing. At each working session the sculpture progresses, better shape and refinement are obtained. The final movement of the heads and necks must be made before the clay stiffens too much, at this stage even a small change like moving an ear can be very important as afterwards it is too late. I usually work on a sculpture for a period of two to three weeks.  I therefore work several sculptures during the same period. Once the sculpture is finished it must be completely dry before firing. Drying times vary depending on size, thickness and outside temperature. The sculptures are fired at a terracotta works in Impruneta where they are in the furnace for a week. Each sculpture is a unique piece, hand made and signed by me and stamped with a "L".

 Susan Leyland 
 
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