Cutting your Sculpture into Sections

As you all know, I’ve been working on this particular sculpture for – no kidding – three months.  Longest project ever!!  But as of right now, it is finally done being built.  The next phase is drying and firing, then glazing and firing.  Whew.

But not too long ago, I posted on Facebook a picture of the piece, before I cut the top into sections, and I received a couple of questions about how I was going to cut it.  I took pictures of the process, so anyone who is interested can see how it is done.  I generally prefer to build a solid sculpture, and then hollow it out, but due to the size of the this piece, I decided to coil-build it.

So, for any clay heads out there who are curious how to make the cut, here ya go:

I use a level to help me mark out my line of where I will cut

Figuring out where to cut and drawing a line

Figuring out where to cut and drawing a line

Using a fettling knife, insert and start to cut, using firm but gentle pressure.  Try not to saw at it, and make as clean a cut as possible.  (Looks kind of painful!) 🙂

Insert fettling knife

Insert fettling knife

After cutting completely through, gently lift off the top and set aside.

Be sure to have some foam nearby

Be sure to have some foam nearby

Using clay that is a little bit firmer, create a flange.  I made an imperfect slab to use.  Be sure to score and slip as you attach the flange to the main piece!

adding a flange

adding a flange

I use toilet paper to prevent the pieces from sticking together when I re-attach.  I use the 2-ply variety, and peel it apart so that it is a thin sheet.  I place that on the clay.  It will stay there  and just fire out in the kiln. (Here you get a nice shot of my sculpture’s behind, lol)

Toilet paper prevents sticking

Toilet paper prevents sticking

And then put the pieces of your sculpture back together!  It may take a little clean up or adjusting to get it to fit, but keep working at it.

Fit the pieces back together

Fit the pieces back together

Now leave it in place, under plastic, and let all the clay come to a even moisture content.  I let my pieces try while still together, though I do regularly lift off the sections and make sure all is well under there.  Then before firing, I do take the pieces apart, just to make sure all those areas are dry.

Good luck!  If you ever have any questions on it, feel free to contact me.  I will try to help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Linda Starr
    August 30, 2013

    Great tips, as soon as I get into my new studio I’ll be trying this technique, thanks.

    • kellythielstudio
      August 30, 2013

      Linda,
      Thanks for reading! Did I see on Twitter that you are taking a workshop soon too? Sounds like you have big changes happening in your life!