Making Faces, Part II: Clay Sculpture Heads (June 2012)

Girl in pain, drawn by 6 year old
Sculpture by Frans Xaver Messerschmidt











This sculpture project followed on from a lesson on Drawing Facial Expressions (please click here to view the previous post). Both projects were inspired by the extraordinary ‘character heads’ created by 18th century Austrian-German sculptor Frans Xaver Messerschmidt (see above).

Having learned how to portray different emotions when drawing faces, this time the kids’ challenge was to sculpt a head with a distinctive facial expression.

Each child started with a small ball of air-drying clay – just the right size to be able to roll it and work it easily in their small hands. First, the clay had to be kneaded to soften it. The kids dipped their hands in water first, to add moisture to the clay as the warm weather was drying it out.

I showed the children how to pinch the clay and pull it out to make the shape of the nose.

Nostril holes were added with a pencil.

Next, they pressed with their thumbs to form eye-sockets.

I demonstrated how to roll a tiny ball of clay to make the eyeballs.

The eyes were finished off by pricking a dot with the end of a paintbrush.

Then the mouth and eyebrows were created from little sausages of clay, rolled between the fingers. Ears were formed by pinching the clay at the sides. Texture, such as hair, was created by making lines with a glue spreader. Some of the kids even added tongues sticking out!

The children created a gallery of rogues to rival the weird and wonderful world of Frans Xaver Messerschmidt!











Please click through the gallery below to see more examples…



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