Monday, October 8, 2018

2018 Kate Church Workshop: Create a Figurative Sculpture Duo

Create a Figurative Sculpture Duo
September 30-October 5, 2018
Kate Church

I was able to attend, for the second year in a row, a doll making workshop with Kate Church from Nova Scotia, Canada, on the Shake Rag Alley campus in Mineral Point, WI. This was a five day workshop.

Here is the class description for the workshop: "In this week long intensive Kate will teach you the techniques she personally uses to build her sculptural figures using polymer clay, cloth, and wire construction. You will create two sculptures. Choose a horse, bird, or rabbit approximately 15” tall as your major piece of the workshop. Starting with a drawing you will design and make a fabric pattern, then use wire to build the form that will animate your piece. Exploring your own process you can use paint, found objects, fabrics, or collage to embellish your work of art. In the second part of the class you will be creating a figure to ride or lead or perhaps dance ... with your fantasy critter. Kate will have patterns available if you feel you are not ready to design your own. Get ready for an extraordinary, fun, and inspiring ride!"

On Sunday, September 30, the group gathered in the Smeja Studio, our workshop space, for a great and meet dinner.

Kate Church (left) and our Shake Rag host Sandy

Kate's class sample

Most of the classes that I take at Shake Rag Alley are in the Lind Pavilion.  This class is across the highway in the Smeja Studio, home of a leather making artist.

My workspace

The base of the figures is made from a pattern on stretch material.  Sewing is not in my wheelhouse so Kate was gracious enough to do all my pattern making on one of the numerous sewing machines in the room.

My crow

My horse

Kate teaches how to sculpt heads from polymer clay.  It is not a skill I have at my command but each day we would sit down as a group and practice sculpting heads.  Once the heads are ready they are baked in an oven.

This was my favorite head from the workshop and shows the progression from pure polymer clay to the painted version.  We used makeup and pan pastels to get the face to where we wanted.  

What I really like about this technique is we get to make the figures do what we want on any object we choose.  Most of the students used a decorated fabric but I went white so that I would have the opportunity to finish them however I want.

For the horse, I decided to texture the cloth so it would be paintable.

For the crow, I decided to go with a paper texture with the idea it might not get painted.

So much for not painting

The crow became the project I worked to completion. It got some feathers as I went along.

Meanwhile, around the room, the group was busy on their own projects.


Merle, all the way from Perth, Australia


Mike and Ruth





Kate with Sally


...and then there was me!

I want to thank Shake Rag Alley and Sandy for hosting a great workshop.  A big thanks to Kate Church for her talent...and her patience.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow-excellent job! This workshop would have been right up my alley. I used to make all kinds of dolls about 30 years ago. Just started back into the needle sculpting again. All the dolls from the workshop look great!!!