Monthly Archives: November 2011

Foray into clay sculpture

Years ago, I purchased a few packets of air dry clay. Never had a chance to use them though.  It is hard to spend a few hours of daylight time playing with clay, uninterrupted, with two little children and their fast hands flying about your workplace.  Then I saw this pretty sculpture at my friend’s house.  Such smooth lines and elegant simplicity, I can almost hear her snobbish words dripping sarcastically from those trout lips!

The Lady with the Lips inspired me to finally scrape together my courage and a few nights ago, I opened one of the packets.  It was actually still workable, remarkable for something I bought almost 9 years ago!  The terracotta clay by Jovi was in fact, almost too soft for my liking.  It flopped about a bit.  Obviously, I will have to experiment more with armature and other delightful support mechanisms.

Here is my first attempt at a face:

I think this looks more like a death mask of someone very old and very ill, lol, but at least I managed to get some of the propertions right.  The clay was drying out very fast and I had a lot of little dried bits sticking to the main portion when I worked with it.  I kept a stiff bristle brush in a little bowl of water and every so often, I’d brush over the face to keep the clay moist.  I had a lot of fun modelling the nose.  Especially as I was scheduled to have septoplasty done on Thursday, 10 November.  Fortunately for me, the surgery was successful and my nose hopefully looks a lot better than the death mask’s nose!

I had half a packet of clay left and could not decide what to sculpt with it.  It was getting late, my hands were icky with dry clay and I’d had enough of the floppy stuff.  So I looked at my crumbly fist and decided to give a go of copying it.  Here’s my “fist of clay”:

It was a very interesting experience to try and capture the angles of the finger bones and the knuckles.  I think I managed to get the finger lengths right.  The clay was too soft to make a hand resting on a wrist, it just kept on collapsing.  So, I decided not to fight it and just let it rest on the base as it wanted to.  They are curing right now.  The weather has cooled down and the humidity is stable.  I hope they don’t crack too much in the drying process.

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Life sure is busy sometimes…

There is something undeniably exciting about moving to a new house.  The possibilities of colours, arranging furniture, admiring new views from the windows.  I had already planned the layout in the new villa.  But alas, my sale fell through and I am still living in my old villa.  That was a waste of a few weeks of negotiation, discussions, planning, house-hunting and excitement.

Nevertheless, I have some pictures to share of other, more interesting and fulfilling things in my life:

Here is my little Yamaha Arius YDP-140.  I found her second-hand on Dubizzle (naturally!) for a very good price.  The lady had bought her with the intention of taking piano lessons, but after two years she gave up, and sold the piano in mint condition.  She takes up much less wall-space than an upright piano would, but she has a full keyboard and plays 50 demo songs too.  The 50 songs came with the piano in sheet music form as well.  And the best part:  volume control!  I can still play some of the pieces I learnt when I was 12 – wow – all that practice sure paid off.

My set of 30 encyclopedias are now used in a tiny corner, as a “book” shelf.  This is a perfect spot for them, because the kids cannot knock them over.  On top is a tiny work of art I bought years ago, and a piece of coral that washed up in Dubai after they started constructing the large Deira Palm (and as yet unfinished).  It looks like a brain and the encylopedias just add to the visual pun.  I’ve seen some amazing book sculptures and have some ideas floating around in my head, but for now, the encyclopedias are going to stay put in their corner.

Some more progress on the blue pentaptych:  we have now hung it on the wall in the living room.  It looks great and allows me to see it at different times of day (and light conditions) as well as saving space in my studio.  I can also take one canvas down to work on it, and replace it easily.  The white buttons are all sewn onto the white band (shaped like a U) that flows over the three right-hand panels (not really visible in this photo).  I am now planning the design for one of the teal bands.  I’m going to incorporate teal-coloured pearls that I found at Dragon Mart.  They’re only cheap cultured pearls, but they are still heavy.  I want to combine some embroidery stitches with the pearls to fill up the area without overloading the canvas.

On 21 October 2011, I attended a 24-hour sew-a-thon for breast cancer awareness, sponsored by Craftland and held at the Town Centre Mall in Dubai.  We made loads of under-arm cushions and shoulderbags to hold the drainage bags after surgery.  The event took place for 12 hours on the Friday and 12 hours on the Saturday.  Sewing for 10 hours straight is quite a challenge, and on hard chairs it became even more so.  I had to spend the rest of the weekend recovering from back pain.  I met some  wonderful ladies and it was very heart-warming to share this experience with ladies from so many different cultures and age groups.

The rest of my time was spent on Halloween, children’s parties and some pretty weird medical stuff.  But more on that later!