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My Clay to Z project is complete!
I began this endeavor back in March. The first few letters came slowly, at a rate of about one sculpture per one to two weeks. Eventually, toward the end of summer, I found a rhythm that helped me achieve the project’s initial goal of increasing efficiency. I made 20 sculptures (including two commissions unrelated to the ABCs) over the last two months. September’s output alone trumped last year’s by three times!
As mentioned in an earlier post, Jake Parker’s “finished, not perfect” mantra played in my mind as I determined to finish all 26 letters before the Wilmore Arts and Crafts Festival on October 1st. I painted the final zebra stripe at 6:30am on the morning of the festival. As I looked at the finished, but definitely not perfect, final animal, I was reminded of a thought I had during the recent Summer Olympics: crossing the finish line isn’t always a pretty sight. Sure, Z isn’t that well executed, but it is executed, and I’m counting that as a win.
Now that I’ve finished Clay to Z, I’m going to take a short sculpting break. I’m casually participating in Inktober as a transition between this project and my next one. Starting mid-October, I’ll begin fulfilling rewards for Jonny Jimison’s recently funded Kickstarter campaign. Whim’s Workshop partnered with him to provide sculptures of his main characters from The Dragon Lord Saga graphic novel as prizes for supporters. Once I’ve completed those sculptures, I intend to begin work on some more character driven pieces. I’m looking forward to beginning that process, but as Clay to Z taught me…one letter at a time!
As of today, I am halfway through my Clay to Z project! I can already feel the wind in my hair as I begin descending the slope of this 26 part mountain! That, or this room is really drafty.
I began this project for several reasons. First of all, I wanted to fill my Etsy shop. I only had a few items ready for purchase when I launched earlier this year, so alphabetic animals originated as a way to build stock. I’m also participating in the Wilmore Arts and Crafts Festival in a few weeks, so I need sculptures to sell there, as well.
Secondly, Clay to Z was meant as a skills exercise. I am notoriously slow and needed a way to increase speed. This project is helping to alleviate some of my hesitancy. It’s teaching me to plan ahead, rely more on reference, and solve design problems in the moment. In addition to quickening my pace, I'm also practicing building more anatomically believable armatures.
Another reason I am continuing this project is that I’ve finally had enough of undone things in my life. I’ve been using Jake Parker’s mantra of “finished, not perfect” as a defense against perfectionism, procrastination, fear of failure, and my history of beginnings without endings. Making it to M gives me hope that painting the final stripe on the (spoiler alert) zebra will signify a new era of finishing what I start.
Onward to N!
I made the acquaintance of comic book artist, Jonny Jimison, through our mutual participation in The Rabbit Room community. After a few online encounters, Jonny commissioned me to sculpt Martin and Marco, the 2-dimensional stars of his graphic novel series, The Dragon Lord Saga. I worked from Jonny's detailed model sheets and read his first book multiple times to try to capture the particularities of each character. It can be difficult to translate an image from 2-d to 3-d, but I consider it an honor that Jonny allowed me that opportunity with his creations.
Please enjoy Jonny's comics and my sculptures on this recent post from The Rabbit Room!
George “Dutch” Williams burrowed his way onto the Vaudeville stage after years of working the night shift beneath the Orpheum Theater. He joined the circuit just days after resigning from the Talpidae Excavation, Co. Promoters capitalized on these working class beginnings, billing Dutch as “the ear to the ceiling with an eye for the big time.” A grassroots following grew out of these shows. Dutch’s popularity, paired with his musical acrobatics, eventually garnered critical attention. By the end of the 1920s, George “Dutch” Williams was the most highly celebrated mole to ever play Vaudeville.
My name is Jenny Dorf, and I’m a polymer clay sculptor...Read More