A Donkey

 
I’d like to make a stoneware set of animals of the nativity – a sheep, a cow, and a donkey.  So I’m inspired to start with the donkey.
 
I began by modeling the head from a lump of clay.  The ears are add-ons, as are the eyeballs and eyelids, but the rest is from the original lump.  Mostly, I model with my fingers, but I also use a few tools such as small knitting needles.  Once the head was to this stage, I hollowed it out from the neck end. 

 
Next I rolled a slab of clay and cut out a shape that would roll into a cone for the neck.  The top edge overlaps the neck from the head lump.

 
I stretched and sculpted the neck cone to suggest the shoulders.  Then I rolled another slab and cut a piece for the back half of the body.  I cut triangle shapes out of the clay slab so that I could form “darts” to bend the sides and back downwards forming the hips.

Then I stretched, squeezed, and shaped to form the belly and rump.  At this stage, the body is open on the under side.

 
I added the mane.  And also added little lumps of clay to further refine the head. 
 
That’s enough for one day!  Plus, the clay is pretty soft at this point – too soft to add the legs.  So I put it in a plastic bag to sit overnight.  Giving it time to “rest” lets the moisture even out more and, since there’s some air in the bag, gives it a chance to harden up a bit.  When I continue modeling, I will need to be able to apply a fair amount of pressure to the body without it moving.

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