Unit 4: Pottery “Clay Slab Relief”

Sculpture - Clay Slab Relief

What are 3 key differences between working with clay and wood for relief sculpture? (What are you able to do with clay that you cannot do with wood?)

The first thing that comes to mind is that wood is obviously much harder and not-easier to work with. Clay is such a soft material that you can “erase” your mistakes with your finger by blending over the mistake, unlike the wood. With wood, once something is imprinted or carved into the wood, it can’t be reversed. Even if you can paint over the mistake, you can still feel it with your finger. Working with clay has it’s benefits and downfalls, and wood also has it’s benefits and downfalls. When you work with clay, it’s easier to restart, to form shapes with your hands, and easier to mould into a abstract 3D shape because of it’s soft form. On the other hand, when you work with clay, all the imprints left behind when you blend the clay with a tool or something is left there. Every crease, fold and crack etc stays there, and once the clay is fired, it doesn’t look that great as it might when you blended it when it was still soft. So you can see clay as a material you want to use when creating 3D shapes that is just to show the overall and bigger picture.

On the contrary, wood is a material you want to use for precision. Indeed, wood is a very hard material and often is stubborn and hard to bend to your will, oft times leaving you with sore fingers after carving out with the knives. Strength, patience and precision is required when working with wood, and usually not much people have the patience and precision to work with wood. Moreover, wood is the exact material you will want to use when seeking for precise details and a “woody” feeling. While clay is not that useful when seeking for precision, wood is a good material to use that can display the details in a very natural way. Therefore these are the differences between working with clay and wood for relief sculpture.

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