Note: Projects are always due at the beginning of class.   Journals are due along with each project (midnight via email). These dates are tentative and may change. If I have not announced a change, it is your responsibility to get the work in on the due date.

All written assignments/journals are due in class or via email by midnight on their due dates below. Email assignments to

For questions outside of class email me at or text 917-740-9378 or make an appointment with me. I am usually available after each class.

Class Projects
Project 1, Non-Object: 6/30
Project 2, Abstraction: 7/9
Project 3, Representational Self-Portrait:
Primary Contour, basic measurements and eye sockets 7/16
Skull: 7/20
Muscles/skin 7/21
Features 7/22
Finish Features/Hair 7/23
Hollow 7/27
Critique: 7/29
Project 3, Substitution Cast Metal:
Wax: 7/15
Casting: 7/23
Clean up bronze: 7/27-28
Finished: 7/30

Homework Project,
Content Based Assemblage:
Research/Journal (example images and 1.5 pages on 3 possible topics) and examples is assemblage art  7/15
Project due and remaining journal: 7/30

Self research Paper: 7/10
Artist Research Paper: 7/21
Assemblge Journal Step 1-2: 7/15
Gallery Paper: Extra Credit! 7/30
Assemblage Journal Step 3-4: 7/30

Final Crits:

Click below to Download pdf that outlines the first steps of creating a skull for your self portrait:

Steps to sculpting a portrait in clay head

Note: as a reminder: check the basic measurements of your head with the calipers every hour you work on it – vertical, horizontal, depth at least.

Video of the first steps of shaping the head and creating basic skull form (note take your time with this step and do not go on to the next one without my approval VERY IMPORTANT!):

Video of adding head muscles:

Video of sculpting eyes:

Video of sculpting mouth:

Video of sculpting nose:

Video of sculpting ear:
Sculpting an ear.

Objective: To model from the live figure and create a sculpture that adds to our knowledge of the body. You may chose between ½ ,3/4 and full life scale. You should strive to achieve an exact representation of the figure and there should be a sense of likeness to the original model.


Step 1: Take photographs from at least 12 different views of your head. These photos should include full-frontal, ¾, ½, rear and above views as well as detail shots of eyes, ears, nose, mouth and bring a mirror. Take measurements from your head and facial features and create sketches that include those measurements in your journal. There are guidelines for each of these on this site.

Step 2: Build an armature and model your form in clay. Begin by modeling the skull of the figure and building the muscles onto that skeleton. Pay attention to the relationship of forms and the positive and negative spaces. Focus on the proportions of the facial features and how they relate to the proportions of the rest of the head. Keep your figure within the scale you have chosen. Include the neck and at least a hint of the shoulders. Chose the surface texture for your face and hair – will it be loose and gestural or smooth and tight?

Step 3: Follow the directions given in class to hollow out your sculpture and fire the clay. Choose to stain, paint or only seal your final piece.

Materials: journal, photos, water based clay – cone ten, six-eight inch threaded pipe and matching flange, wet towel, plastic bag, small knife, spoon and nail. optional: modeling tools, calipers, ruler, mirror

1. Xerox/Print images of 10 representational figurative sculptures. Pay attention to how the artist modeled the features and hair. Nam the artist and cite the source.
2. Include your proportion and scale drawings.
3. What is the difference between proportion and scale (define)? What scale is your sculpture? Are the proportions correct or have you distorted them?
4. Define representational sculpture.
5. What are additive processes in sculpture?
6. What is the difference between concave and convex forms? Are there any truly concave forms in the human figure?
7. What can you do to prevent the clay from exploding or cracking in the kiln?

Each stage has a due date, which if missed can cause you to miss the entire project!

Objective: To create a portrait of your cultural/family past without using direct images of yourself or any family members. In a sense, this is a self-portrait of who you are and where you came from. Your use of imagery should be poetic as opposed to literal. You can choose to focus on one aspect or image from your cultural/family past or choose to collage several images together. This element should be the focal or emphasis point of your sculpture. There should be something about how you use the form and texture that makes the viewer want to pick it up and hold it. You should think of it as a hand held object. You should think about the bottom of the sculpture as well and how it would feel to roll it around in your hands.

Step 1: Complete research assignment.

Step 2: Create a small image that relates directly to your self research assignment out of wax. Your image should be designed to be hand-held, picked up and turned over.  Forms that do not have a base and have more than one potential “up” are more likely to be picked up.   The piece should feel good to the touch – think about texture, form and color. What forms are more likely to be picked up?  What textures would you want to touch?  How will the viewer be rewarded for picking the object up? Will there be a surprise on the underside?  How does the form contacts the ground and how does it feel in the hand?

Step 3: Gate the wax form then create a ceramic shell mold, burn-out the wax and cast the form in bronze. De-gate, chase and patinate the bronze form.

Materials: journal, cast bronze element (which you will create) ANYTHING

Journal (10pts.)
1. Sketches of your original ideas and a Sketch of your final project.
2. In a few paragraphs, describe how this piece is a portrait of your family/cultural past.
3. What is a substitution process?
4. Describe the ceramic shell casting process.
5. Is there something about the color, texture, size, shape of the piece that makes the viewer want to pick it up and hold it? What is it?
6. Describe the safety procedures used during bronze casting.

Worth: 50 pts.

In addition to the visual images requested for each answer, all answers should have a well written, short essay ½ or longer page in length. Make sure you use complete sentences and proper grammar. Question 1 is worth 15 points, the remainder are worth 7 each.

Research and document your sources ie. Cite your source.
Your sources may include:
A family member
Archeology texts
Art history or art appreciation texts
The internet
Sociology texts

1. A. Xerox/Print/Photograph ten sculptural images from your heritage. At least five should be more than 1000 years old for Western/European cultures if at all possible or more than 200 years old from Non-Western cultures. You should at least try to find work from around or before the time your ancestors came to this continent. I am somewhat flexible about the dates, try your best here.

For example, one of my ancestors came to America from Scotland in 1637. In this case I would try to find sculpture from the Northern European cultures from the 1600’s or earlier. There is a castle and standing stones in the area around Edzell, Scotland that I could look at. I have another ancestor who is Comanche, so I would find work from Plains Native Americans – older the better and hopefully 200+ years old. In this case, I would be looking at tools and clothing rather than sculptures, as there were not much for sculpture making. Although it is nice to find sculpture from the exact city and country, you can look in the region. For example, if you are Hmong you could look in any South-eastern Asian country such as Cambodia, Thailand, Laos ect. In this case you might want to look at Ankor Wat in Cambodia (very cool place). If you are from Germany, you can look at any neighboring central European country such as Austria or Poland.

If your heritage is multicultural choose images from one or more of these cultures – make your choices based on which ones had the most influence on who you are today.

B. Answer the following: What are the visual elements (shapes, textures, colors, materials etc.) that are common in the images that you have chosen? What are the major differences in the visual elements of the pieces you have chosen? Describe the aspects of each piece that you particularly like and dislike from each image and explain why.

2. A. Draw/photograph a vivid visual image that remains strong in your mind from your childhood.

B. Write about the experience and explain what made it such a strong memory. What about the image attracts you? What do you dislike about the image? What are the dominate visual elements in the image?

3. Write about a strongly held family or cultural belief or value and explain why this belief or value is important to you. What visual images do you associate with this image?

4. A. Draw or photograph a traditional tool, traditional costume or other artifact specific to your cultural heritage.

B. Explain the objects use, custom and any symbolism involved with the object. What about the image attracts you? What do you dislike about the image? What are the dominate visual elements in the image?

5. A. Draw or photograph an often-used object from your childhood that evokes humorous memories, or that you have created stories around.

B. Describe the memories that surround this object. What about the image attracts you? What do you dislike about the image? What are the dominate visual elements in the image?

6. Draw, photograph or write a description of food traditional to your family or culture, and include recipes if possible. (put the recipe on a separate piece of paper)

A list of visual elements: line, shape, plane, mass, volume, space, light, color, texture, pattern, motion


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