The month of February has been a whirlwind of activity and excitement. I had a successful first time solo exhibit at the Orange Art Gallery and the chance to meet so many new people who have been curious about polymer clay. That’s been great because next to creating art, I love talking art, explaining the medium, the process and the inspiration behind what I do. The question asked most often by just about everyone is “how long does it take to make one of my sculptures?” Here’s the answer and the topic of this week’s post.
I hardly ever start and finish one piece at a time. Usually there are at least three sculptures on the go in various stages of completion, spread out over the course of several weeks. A start to finish estimate would be 20 hours for a single character or up to 60 hours for a more complicated multi-character piece. There are some variables that require more time, for example if I’m making furniture or accessories, or if the positioning is difficult. But next to the actual sculpting, creating the body and the costuming is the biggest chunk of time spent on the sculpture.
One of the reasons I work on several pieces at the same time is because I need to walk away from the sculpting or the composition and look at it again with fresh eyes. This is especially true with portraits or commissions – that’s why I always ask for 4 to 6 weeks to complete a commission. When I’m so focused on a task, like most people, I get tunnel vision. By taking the time to step away and come back to a sculpture I can see what needs to be tweaked or changed and often it’s so glaringly obvious that I can’t believe I missed it earlier. The other issue is deciding when the piece is finished. Most times a sculpture will remain on my work table for at least one more day after I first think it’s finished. This gives me a chance to give it one more look over and touch up before it’s moved out of the workshop completely.
If there are few distractions, I can usually create 4 to 6 new sculptures in a month. My studio is in my home, and it’s equipped with a TV, music, computer and telephone, so it’s very comfortable to spend a lot of time there. I work on average 10 hour days. I say the word “work” very loosely because it’s not work for me . . . I’m very grateful to have found my passion and to be able to do this full time.