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.