Post 7: Getting Somewhwere

This is the post that catches the blog up, after this one I’ll be posting as I get stuff done.  After the workshops, and the shipping, I finally had some time to devote to just sculpting.  I spent it working on the sculpture I’d started mid-July, and I started to make a good deal of progress.  I came into the studio day after day wedging clay, sticking blocks of it onto each other, and smoothing out forms with a 2×4 and 2×2.  Unlike the last sculpture, this one had no weight issues, and progress came pretty rapidly.  Now might be a good time to talk about what the sculpture actually is, since I didn’t have any pictures when I started.

Tentatively titled “Hallowed” this sculpture is a deer, made of white stoneware.  About 5 feet from end to end, its a pretty massive piece, certainly one of the largest things I’ve ever made.  Through my work I tend to use deer a lot, I see them as these kind of bridges or ambassadors between the natural world and the man made world.  This gives them symbolic value as figures that transition from one state to another, and the figure in this sculpture is no exception.  I wanted to show the deer slowly changing states, and I took inspiration from the legend of the white hind, an uncatchable, sacred dear in myths throughout Europe.  Most of this transition will arise through the finishing, so the sculpture at this stage doesn’t really reflect that, I’ve just been working to get a dynamic pose, and a compelling form.

As I’ve said before, the fact that the figure is resting on the ground makes weight less of a concern.  However, this doesn’t mean it hasn’t given me any issue.  When I started adding legs, I realized I needed the platform I was sculpting on raised by about 4 inches.  That might not seem like a lot until you consider that at the time, it weighed a few hundred pounds.  I made some supports out of 2x4s and, working with Mike Draeger, we managed to lift the platform up, one side at a time with prybars and blocks of wood, enough to get the supports under it.  Aside from that, there hasn’t really been much complication with the sculpting.  everything has been going well, and I’m feeling good about where it’s going



  1. etbroennimann says:

    Hi! I haven’t read either of those, but I’ll have to check them out, thanks for the recommendations. Most of the symbolism for the deer in this piece is inspired by the legend of the White Hind, and my own experiences with deer acting as bridges between the natural and unnatural worlds. So far, I’ve mostly worked with clay, and its by far my favorite material that I’ve used. It’s very easy and satisfying to work with, and to get precise shapes and forms with it, and you can achieve a huge variety of textures and surfaces. You can do similar things with bronze, but I wont be able to work with that until the semester starts up again. In terms of future challenges, the big one is going to be firing the deer. There’s a lot that can go wrong during that step, including cracking and warping of the form, or explosions if there’s trapped air, so that’s where I see the most problems showing up. Thanks for your interest in my project!

  2. oliviavandewoude says:

    Hi there,

What an interesting project you are completing! I especially like your decision to sculpt a deer. Given that you discuss the symbolism of the deer, I was curious to know if you have read The Beast Between: Deer Imager in Ancient Maya Art or Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small? These texts might be helpful to you as you decipher the meaning of the deer in your project.

    On another note, I have some questions more closely related to your project. For one thing, at the beginning of your project you explained that you wished to “explore a variety of materials, including clay, plaster, straw, resin, and bronze.” I was wondering which material you have preferred using in this project thus far, and why? Furthermore, what challenges do you anticipate moving forward in the next steps of your project?

 Thank you for sharing your project, and I look forward to seeing the final result.