Thor

 

Thor is the Norse god of thunder, storms, oak trees, strength, and protector of mankind. The beloved Thor carries the great hammer Mjolnir, and is traditionally depicted with red hair and beard (unlike his blond counterpart in Marvel Comics). There are countless legends and heroic poems about Thor throughout the Nordic and Germanic cultures. In fact Thursday was named after "Thor's Day." In sculpting Thor, I was inspired by a superhero pose on a movie poster but took a minimalistic, Rodin-like impressionistic approach to conveying just his core essence: the iconic winged helmet, Mjolnir with the runic triquetra, and his imposing physique. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Thor

 

Thor

 

Thor

 

Thor

 

Thor

 

Thor

 

Thor

 

Thor

Wet clay model

 

Thor

Wet clay model

Stegosaurus

 

Stegosaurs roamed the western United States and Portugal 100 to 150 million years ago during the late Jurassic period. They are one of the most easily recognized species due to their distinctive plates and tail spikes. The prevailing theory is that the tail spikes were for self defense while the staggered row of plates were for either thermoregulation or for display (intimidation, mating, etc.). My personal haunch is that stegosaurs were both the peacocks and porcupines of the dinosaur world. With their conspicuous plates, their coloration most likely was not muted but rather bright and bold. A common misconception is that stegosaurs were hunted by tyrannosaurs; however, stegosaurs were long extinct by the time of T-rex. In fact, on a time scale, tyrannosaurs were closer to modern humans than they were to stegosaurs. This model was one of the cleanest sculptures I've made to date, meaning there were no cracks or other defects during the firing process. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Stegosaurus

 

Stegosaurus

 

Stegosaurus

 

Stegosaurus

 

Stegosaurus

 

Stegosaurus

 

Stegosaurus

 

Stegosaurus

 

Stegosaurus

Wet clay model

The Gorilla Shabani

 

Almost all gorillas in zoos are of the western lowland subspecies (G. g. gorilla) which are distinct from the eastern gorillas in both habitat and morphology. The western gorillas are typically more slender, have lighter and shorter fur than their eastern and mountain counterparts. Male gorillas can reach up to 6 ft in height and over 400 lbs. Females are usually half the size. All gorillas are primarily vegetarians with their diet consisting of fruits and vegetation, with occasional insects and grubs. I modeled my piece based on Shabani, a popular silverback at the Higashiyama zoo in Nagoya, Japan, who has become famous for being handsome, photogenic, and an "ikemen" (Japanese term to describe metrosexual men). My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

The Gorilla Shabani

 

The Gorilla Shabani

 

The Gorilla Shabani

 

The Gorilla Shabani

 

The Gorilla Shabani

 

The Gorilla Shabani

 

The Gorilla Shabani

 

The Gorilla Shabani

Wet clay model

Barbary Lion

 

The Barbary Lion (Panthera leo leo) is a lion subspecies that once roamed much of North Africa, including the Atlas Mountains, hence they are also called Atlas lions. Although none have been sighted in their natural habitat since the late 1960s, their distinctive traits such as their very dark and long-haired manes that extended over the shoulder and under the belly have been observed in zoo specimens, possibly indicating the survival of the subspecies in captivity. The Barbary lion was generally larger in size than the average African lion, and their overall thicker manes covering more of their body is believed to have been a genetic adaptation to the colder climate of the Atlas Mountains. This is actually my second attempt at sculpting a lion, my first version, made almost exactly 2 years ago, was for the Water Bearer and the Lion. I based the pose on an illustration by Joseph Bassett Holder, an American zoologist and physician (and evidently also quite a remarkable artist). My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

 

Barbary Lion

Wet clay model

Victory of Samothrace

 

I first saw the Winged Victory of Samothrace at the Louvre in the summer of 1989. Back then I didn't truly appreciate its historical significance, but I recall being mesmerized by the sheer elegance and beauty of the pose. The goddess Nike appeared to be confidently striding forward, perhaps just upon alighting, as her hips and lower torso gracefully swing in balance with her extended right leg. My attempt was to sculpt the winged goddess Nike as a tribute to the unknown 2nd century Hellenistic artist of this timeless masterpiece. Sculpting her with kiln fired pottery clay however, allowed - or required me rather - to take some artistic liberties with her hair style and positioning of her arms. Incidentally, historians have a fairly good guess as to what the entire piece may have looked like prior to its destruction, based on ancient coins and a recovered right hand. There is a very informative video on YouTube on the restoration of the Winged Victory by the Louvre that explains this. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

A hairline split formed across her neck during the second firing. This was probably due to the weight of her wings pulling her upper torso back while the terra cotta softened during the firing. The side benefit was the angle and curvature of the wings actually improved overall.

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

 

Victory of Samothrace

Wing detail - I actually tried to copy every feather on both wings from the Louvre piece.

 

Victory of Samothrace

Every feather...

 

Victory of Samothrace

Victory at night

 

Victory of Samothrace

Wet clay model at the earliest stage - total sculpting time at this point was about 8 hours.

 

Victory of Samothrace

Wet clay model - this is one of my favorite wallpapers. It captures the piece during my favorite stage of sculpting. Notice the steel support (coat hanger) that held the model vertically until the clay set.