When Your Groundhog’s Too Skinny

If I had a real groundhog and she were too skinny, I’d feed her more treats!  But since my groundhog is made of clay, I need a different solution – surgery!
Sculpting tiny animals is easier than sculpting larger ones (this one is about 5″ long).  The tiny ones I simply sculpt solid, then when I have the form the way I want it, I cut it in half, usually around the waist, hollow out the halves with a small metal measuring spoon, then put them back together with the “score and slip” method.  After the seam hardens a bit I can finish my sculpting.  The only “hard” part is remembering to put a small hole in the sculpture so that it doesn’t explode in the kiln.
But for these larger ones, I make them hollow from the beginning.  The clay is soft and as I pinch and pull the basic shape distorts so easily.
Anyway, once I had the basic shape of this little girl finished, it was clear that she was too thin – and by quite a bit.  So adding clay wasn’t really an option as the walls would then be too thick.  So I took my tissue blade and made an incision as you see here.  I pulled her apart until I thought she looked right, then cut a slab that would fit the incision and added it.  I left a rather large hole in the under side so that I could get a tool or a finger inside to smooth the seam, then let her rest and heal for a day.  Poor girl, but she’ll be much better in the end.

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