Mayan Clay Sculpture: Sculpture for the ancient Maya spans all media, from the miniature to the monumental, as artists gave shape to materials extracted from the landscape. Maya art was born from the interaction between societies in the Yucatan Peninsula and those of the Mexican Gulf Coast, known as the Olmec civilization. In the first millennium B.C., Maya artists began to sculpt in stone, stucco, wood, bone, shell, and fired clay.
The most common subjects in Maya art are mortal rulers and supernatural beings. The royal courts of the Maya kings and queens employed full-time painters and sculptors. Modeled and carved works of fired clay show the Maya virtuosity at creating realistic figurines and elaborate vessels and incense burners. Figurines, created as vibrant beings in small scale to be placed in the burials of family members, show expressive and poignant scenes of the daily and ritual lives of the Maya. Some depict individuals in costumes impersonating deities or other characters.
Maya sculptors celebrated the human form in a naturalistic way, portraying royal individuals as they sit, stand, hold things, and interact with one another. Working limestone or volcanic tuff with stone tools, sculptors showed realistic portraits of divine lords, courtly ladies, captives, and deities.
Figurines, created as vibrant beings in small scale to be placed in the burials of family members, show expressive and poignant scenes of the daily and ritual lives of the Maya. Some depict individuals in costumes impersonating deities or other characters,women with rich clothing and jewelry, or deities themselves.
Drawing: Think about what you would like to show about yourself in a self portrait clay sculpture. Do you want to wear boots? A jeans jacket? A baseball hat? Complete three drawings of yourself – one front, one side and one back view. Keep you proportions as accurate as you can by referencing DaVinci’s “Vitruvian Man”. Your drawing will be used to base your clay sculptural figure. Your figure should have clothes and attitude you like or would like to wear.
Sculpture: Participate by observing the demonstration on creating clay figurative sculpture using a form. Creating the sculpture will take time and “timing”. “Wet clay” is rolled into slab which are used to create the basic forms (first week). Add enough clay for clothes and boots, hair and jeans. Keep in mind that the figure needs to be hollow – allowing air to get in and out. The walls need to be thick enough to hold your standing figure but thin enough to fire. Take care not to create a “bubble” of clay. All basic forms including each leg need to be formed the first week.
Wrap clay tight in plastic so can dry slowly. The clay needs to become “leather hard” before the figure can be completed (second week).
Once the clay is dry it will be fired and we will glaze the sculpture. (3 weeks after completion)
Participate in the demonstration on clarifying the clothes, face, etc. Complete your figure. Clean up clay by clarifying lines, smoothing surfaces (with your figure) as demonstrated.
Comic Book!: Take pictures throughout your working on the sculpture. Create a page with 5 images (examples: drawings, working with the clay, forming the sculpture, techniques in adding clay, sculpting tools, applying glaze, etc.) each with it’s own text bubble. , headline and sub-head.
Create a new page in ComicBook! app. Your page must include:
Headline – the topic of your page (example – Linoleum Block Print with Radial Design)
Subhead – a short descriptive phrase that adds details to the topic (example – Linoleum block study of a Northern Minnesotan Duck.)
5 cells – 5 photographs (5 shots, POV, Rule of Thirds) describing the creation of the your clay sculpture: drawing of intended figure, rolling out the clay, wrapping the clay around the cardboard form, forming the figure by adding arms, sculpting the additional details like clothing, hair texture, some techniques used when in adding clay such as “slip and score”, sculpting tools being used, and applying glaze.
Text bubble in each cell – describe new insight into topic/assignment. Don’t rehash the assignment – tell us something new that you observed and/or learned. Critique your work.
Send as an email to firstname.lastname@example.org