This week, I put my paintings aside for a bit and started a different project. My dog Maxim recently became very sick and we had no other choice but to put him down. My mom and Max were really close so I wanted to get her something in his memory, but I wasn’t sure what. I looked at shadow boxes, stone memorials, and I even found a company that recreated your pet as a stuffed toy. Nothing really felt like the right thing to get. After thousands of Google searches, I came across the art of Helen Violet. She is a self taught Canadian artist who creates beautiful, realistic sculptures of pets for their owners. She really works hard to capture the personality of the pet and incorporate it into her sculptures. While her work is amazing, I certainly could not afford to get one created of Maxim. However, I really liked the idea. Something like that would fit in my mom’s house already; she loves handmade sculptures.
It took my brain a few minutes to realize that I also was an artist and could try to make one myself. While it won’t come out as nice as Helen’s works, I can still try to make something that my mom would appreciate.
I began researching. The last time I worked with clay was in high school and we were told what we needed to do and handed all the materials. I needed something I could bake at home because I don’t have a kiln at my disposal. Polymer clay looked like the best bet and it also turned out to be the same material Helen uses for her sculptures so I felt like I was on the right track. After a trip to Michael’s (with coupons of course), I began working.
I started off gathering every single picture of Maxim I ever took and then I decided how I wanted him to pose. I chose for him to be sitting upright because for some reason that’s how he always was; he would always sit on the couch looking out the window. Then I found pictures of him sitting from different angles and created a wire armature as a base. His legs were particularly hard to do as he sits in a funny way; his legs turn inward and they touch.
Once my armature was complete I started covering it in clay. I actually ended up taking the arms and legs off anyway because they were making it harder for me to work on the body. One thing that was difficult about polymer clay is that it becomes soft when warm so I kept having to take a break when it was too soft to work with. Eventually I began leaving it in the freezer for a while so I could keep working on it longer. I think I’m off to a decent start. I’m not even close to being finished, but I will keep you posted!
Until next time!