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SC02: Sculpting Characters

w/ Margene Crossan


video sleeve image

$24.95 + S&H

Table of Contents:

Tools and materials
Faces and Hair
Hands and Feet
Clothing and Accessories
Sources and Resources

Approx. Running Time: 82 minutes

Whimsical Characters — the Rest of the Story

Margene Crossan returns with her new video "Sculpting Characters." It is her second video for the Master Artisans: Polymer Clay Series from MindStorm Productions. While her first video explained how to sculpt faces, this video deals with body armatures and clothing as well as faces made from push molds.

Having a veteran of Mattel, Disney and other movie studio model shops teach this lesson will be a real treat for polymer clay sculptors. Whether you specialize in human figures or not, just watching Margene work with and talk about the clay will add several new tips and ideas to your collection.

This video covers:
    - Tools and materials
    - Armatures
    - Faces and Hair
    - Hands and Feet
    - Clothing and Accessories
    - Sources and Resources

Margene reviews tools and materials in depth. In addition to commercial items such as a standing magnifying glass and sculpting tools, everyday household materials and homemade gadgets are shown and described, as are supplies available at local craft stores. Worn-out paint brushes have become specialized sculpting devices. A garlic press produces luscious clay hair. Throughout the video, many tools are used in creative ways. Various brands of polymer clay are reviewed and their best uses described.

Margene begins her instructions with armatures, the hidden frameworks, or "skeletons," of clay bodies. She explains the basics of building up lightweight yet strong frames using aluminum foil, tape and wire. An empty glass bottle becomes the basis for a figure's full-length skirt. For free-standing figures whose legs will be visible, florists' wire is used with foil for pose and for shape. Scrap clay forms the outer layers of these unseen armatures.

While Margene's first video in this series described the creation of faces in great detail, she shows here how to use commercial "push molds," available in craft stores, to make faces which are applied to plain clay heads. One of the constant themes of this video is the usefulness of baking figures frequently, after each addition of new clay components. Using her many tools, some homemade, she adds glass bead eyes and adjusts features to bring individuality to the molded faces. Wrinkles, a smile, even ears can be made unique — elf ears, anyone?

The subject of hair and beards is discussed next. Timing—whether to make the hair before or after the clothing. Style—whether to start with a solid clay slab and sculpt a short hair style from it, or whether to extrude individual strands for flowing locks or beards. Curls and ringlets are also demonstrated. Throughout this video, Margene reminds her viewers how important, and easy, it is to take her basic instructions and make personalized variations. As she says, "Any color you want, any style you want."

Margene's explanation of hat-making is another example of her teaching style. She demonstrates basic forms and textures, shows some of her own variations, and encourages her viewers to invent their own variations. She even divulges her approach to experimenting with textures at fabric stores.

Hands and feet (and arms and legs) are the next topic. The basic form and position of the arms and legs are covered, as are the tiniest details of hands and feet. Margene shows how to shape the hands and how to add fingernails, knuckles, and even tendons. She also mentions commercial push molds made for hands and feet. All kinds of shoes are next — tennis shoes, Mary Janes, elf shoes, street shoes. Then plain socks, ribbed socks, and pantaloons. Use your own body and wardrobe for ideas!

For a woman's dress, viewers are shown how to soften and use commercially available millefiori cane slices, but are reminded that making millefiori canes is covered in other Mindstorm videos in the series. Tips for making realistic clothing from clay are shown, from textures to fabric draping and wrinkling. Additional details such as lace trim, belts, pants, shirts and collars are also demonstrated.

Bases upon which figures sit or stand are shown and discussed briefly. Margene also shows figures sitting and reclining in coffee mugs. The video ends with recommendations for mail order sources of supplies, including Margene's own line of push molds. Stay tuned for the very end of the tape, or you'll miss some funny outtakes from the making of this video.