The Hollowing of a Bust

After slicing off the crown of the head with a wire tool, you can see the clay of this portrait bust enrobes a center of crumpled newspaper on the armature.  I’ve set the crown aside and will keep it in tact so that it can be replaced later in the process. This portrait bust is larger than life, requiring about 50 pounds of water-based clay.

The newspaper has absorbed moisture from the clay so it tears apart easily. It  must be removed and the walls of the sculpture must be thinned. I use a ribbon tool to shave away clay from the inside walls.

Hollowing a portrait bust by Kim MarchesseaultSide cut by Kim MarchesseaultCut by Kim Marchesseault   

In the photos below, the sculpture is freed from its armature and placed on a wooden board. It is now hollow. About twenty five or thirty pounds of clay have been removed from the inside.

You see channels have been punched through. These are necessary only if the sculpture is to be fired. If you were to cast the sculpture, you could skip this step. The channels allow air and moisture to escape thick walls of clay during the heating process in a kiln. Without them, the sculpture is more likely to explode in the kiln. Channels by Kim Marchesseault

The outer surface of the clay is smoothed over, concealing the channels from the outside. The channels open toward the inside and will vent through the bottom of the sculpture.Channels by Kim Marchesseault

The model will sit for me one more time after the smoothing of the channels is complete.


Younger bust

Portrait by Kim Marchesseault Portrait by Kim Marchesseault

Here is the continuation of the previous portrait since I have changed models.  I learned a lot about the differences in the ages of faces by changing from an older woman in her fifties to a younger model of age fifteen. The area around the mouth in particular, the jaw line and they eye areas are so very different.  In a younger person, the eye sockets are more filled. The mouth is full. The muscles around the mouth are plump. The Jaw line is cleaner.

Teenagers are lazy! That’s the most important lesson. I have to wrestle this girl (my daughter) out of bed at two in the afternoon. She gets to sit there and read a book, but she’d prefer to lie down.

Sculpture Bust

oldportraitsmall1962 Here is the very beginning of a larger than life portrait bust in clay. I had about 2 hours with the original model and, even though I think it would have been very nice looking, because she is a beautiful woman, she is in her 50’s and I realized I wanted a more youthful face. In this picture I just pulled off the plastic and started reducing along the jaw line and making changes. …and now I have a new model!

My daughter is going to pose for this portrait. She works cheap and can read a book while I sculpt!

On to England

Hope Dolphins by Kim Marchesseault These dolphins are now making their way across the pond. After the maquette was approved, the sculpture was created in black clay, dried to leather hard, carved design according to the buyer’s specifications, spent quite some time drying, bisque fired, glazed, fired again, finished and now off to sea.

The word “hope” is carved into the bottom of the piece under the base. The glazed portion symbolizes armor.

I sure hope the new owner enjoys them.

My dog might be getting old…

You can tell by the cobwebs.

Hope Dolphins

"Hope Dolphins" by Kim MarchesseaultI am  commissioned to sculpt a pair of dolphins with special meaning that will be given as a gift. They represent hope. One of the dolphins is slightly smaller and following behind a  larger dolphin."Hope Dolphins" by Kim MarchesseaultThese images are of the maquette for the final piece, which will be done in black clay.

"Hope Dolphins" by Kim Marchesseault


DystoniaThis sculpture is life-sized commission of a dystonia foot. It was purchased as a gift for the doctor who helped this woman’s son with  dystonia that caused him to raise the big toes on both of his feet, and gave him trouble when he walked.

I had Lasik eye surgery yesterday after one week free of contact lenses (translate: wearing coke bottle glasses rendering me nearly blind).
It was interesting. Like a surreal party in the office. Everyone was happy. Maybe it was the valium they were handing out…or the coffee cake. Everyone loved the coffee cake made with secret recipe.

Each of us sat in our chairs, after our wavefront scans. …Some with husbands or wives on hand for support and to do the driving and eating of coffee cake. Ladies would pop in and give us eye drops constantly and offer more valium and tell us how good the coffee cake was and suggest we try it. I, personally went with the valium. Sugar is so addicting.

The woman before me was really nice. She went to the back room to get started.. A very handsome man and beautiful woman in sandals ran down the hallway after her. The man was wearing sunglasses. He said the surgery was great and he could already see better. He had just gotten off the table…

I watched as the woman I had chatted with walked toward the room for her lasik after having her corneal flaps cut by laser. She looked into the room with totally white zombee eyes (flaps a flopping) and told her husband he should come watch because they had a chair for him to sit in while they shaped her corneas. It was a bit startling.

I was next. Right eye, fantastic. I saw stars. Left eye they had trouble with and had to do the suction thingy twice. That hurt.
Surgery great. right eye easy, left eye very painful.
When I got up, I could already see better than without glasses before. pretty cool

I’m glad I had this done. I have 20/25 vision now and still improving every hour.  I’ve missed you guys! I wish I had more time to write on this blog because I do love it.

The sleeper

"The Sleeper" by Kim Marchesseault"The Sleeper" by Kim Marchesseault 1117 "The Sleeper" by kim Marchesseault1128 

Here’s a reclining male I recently finished sculpting. The model was fantastic. This piece is about 19 inches long.

The Good Dream

gooddreamflatsmall1107 gooddreamsmallflat1100 gooddreamsmallflat1103

This work can be seen in progress here: A Puncture Saves a Thousand Curves

Gifts of Gold

My daughter, Brooke Marchesseault, represented Martin GT Magnet Middle School in the Wake County event called Gifts of Gold  with a sculpture she made of a jaguar.  Yes, that’s right, a sculpture.  In this event, each art teacher from each school in Wake County can enter a single student. This was a great honor.

I had never laid eyes on this sculpture of hers until last night at the show. It is beautiful. She worked from a small, flat photograph and produced a prowling cat. in clay. She used underglazes to create a gorgeous, spotted coat on her jaguar. 

The show is currently on display at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium on South Street. I’ll post a picture of the sculpture as soon as I’m able to take one.

I’m so proud of her.