La Perdrix 2015 – AnteatersPosted: April 8, 2015
After pushing for the roll of being put in charge of the anteater candlestick in our project to make all the dinnerware for a starter of a meal for 17 people, I decided to go and sculpt some prototypes.
Considering I could barely remember what an anteater looked like aside from the basic shape and features, I needed to have a reference picture before I could do anything. I got up google images on my group member’s laptop and made some very quick sketches to refresh my memory
From these sketches I went and made a few small maquettes of anteaters holding candle sticks
I thought the idea of an anteater sat looking very displeased with a candle stuck in the middle of it’s head was quite amusing. I decided to do a close up of a displeased anteater head
After these initial prototypes, I was painfully aware that the anteaters were nowhere near up to the standard I wanted them to be, I envisioned the final thing as being a very real (or at least accurate) depiction of an anteater, and these just weren’t quite right. This was completely down to my lack of references to draw from, which I was fully aware of as I just didn’t have enough understanding of the shape and form. So, I went and borrowed my tutor Ingrid’s laptop, sat down, and drew lots and lots of anteaters.
I must say, this gave me a much deeper appreciation for anteaters, they are absolutely great, and such bizarrely shaped creatures. They start off so long and thin at the front, and then turn into a massive wedge at the back, with their front legs really out to the sides almost like a bear. What I didn’t realise before this was that anteaters walk on the knuckles of their front feet, with their two big claws facing upwards. This again makes them move very amusingly, and really makes them a lot of fun to draw and sculpt.
So, having a better understanding of the anteater, I then went and made some more maquettes
I was much happier with these sculptures, and feel they really capture the character and shape of the anteater. However, it was at that point my group came back to me and said they didn’t feel that the anteater fit with the theme any more, as their work had progressed in a specific direction and the anteater would be completely out of place.
While I completely agreed and understood, it was disheartening feeling that I had wasted my entire day working something which now had no place in the project, as well as the fact that I had been checking in with members of my groups all day asking their opinions and feedback and not once being given anything but positive feedback. But I understand that it might not have been evident until we all regrouped and reassessed all of the work being produced together that it became evident the anteater had no place. Despite being disheartened about the loss of the anteater (I was quite fond of them at this point), my biggest concern was that I would no longer have a place in the group. As I mentioned in the initial planning of the project, I have very little experience with ceramics and sculpting being my only talent, I had now lost the only main sculpting role in the group. While someone else in the group was doing some sculpting, I felt like she already had that in hand and there wouldn’t be any place for me. Not only this, but the next day I was put on cooking duty (everyone spends a day in the kitchen) and so it felt like everyone was going to progress without me. Needless to say I was feeling quite disheartened.
However, it all worked out in the end and I found a job to do which I will talk about in my other post, but I wanted to finish the little anteater sculptures I had made at least.
My anteaters were bisque fired, and ready to be glazed
Using the sepia underglaze, I painted the markings onto the, bisque fired anteaters
and then dipped them in transparent glaze. I had to make sure to clean the glaze off the bottom of their feet and any other area touching the ground so that the glaze didn’t fuse them to the ground in the kiln when the glaze melts.
And here we are – the finished anteaters! Unfortunately, they are not as glassy and smooth as I had hoped, which was apparently a problem with the clay being very porous and absorbing the clay. Despite this, I am still very happy with them, probably due to just the sheer novelty of them and my new found fondness for the creatures, although it’s disappointing that they lack the “finished” quality of a ceramic piece.
Not quite big enough to hold candles. Incense holders perhaps?