Frequently Asked Questions
Sculpting Class Questions
Where are your classes?
JCLee Studios &
The Downstairs Gallery
808 Lincoln Way
Auburn, CA. 95603
Are your classes portrait or full figure?
The majority of my classes are portrait, but I do have a classes on sculpting the female and male torsos, masks & bas relief. See: Class Calendar.
How do I pay for your workshops and classes?
You can pay by cash, check or PayPal. See "Methods of Payment" tab.
Do you use a live model?
Not in the beginning, my students are encouraged to learn and understand the anatomy first. Then, use their imagination to create gesture, movement and pose. I find that using a model in the early stages of sculpture only causes comparisons. But, I do have live-model 2-3 hour classes on occasional evenings. See Class Enrollment.
Will you come to teach or speak at our art center or school?
Most of my classes are held at JCLee Studios in Auburn, CA, although, inquiries can be made by phone or email.
I do not have any sculpting experience; can I still sign up for a class?
Yes. My students range from beginners to professional artists. Most of my students have had little of no experience is sculpture and in some cases, have never touched clay.
What tools do I need for your class?
I supply the tools, armature, clay, apron and sculpting stands for each student for classroom use. For the most part, there are only handful of tools needed for sculpture. The ones I use the most are the two made by Philippe Faraut at www.pcfstudios.com; The 7" sculpting tools for eyes, lips and ears and the 10" sculpting tool for shaping and creating planes. I also have a couple Kemper wire tools, clay scraper, clay knife and wire tool for cutting the clay.
Where do I get the armatures and a sculpting stand?
Again, I get both from pcfstudios.com. Philippe received his degree in woodcarving and the construction of French fine furniture. His sculpting stands are very well made and at the best price I can find at any art supply store or the internet. His armatures are good for several sculptures and inexpensive as well.
Is there anything that I can do to be better prepared for my class?
Yes. I have found that students who have worked with Philippe's books or DVDs prior to class do get a bit more out of the experience. It is also helpful to become familiar with some basic anatomical terms, as I will be using these during the class.
Will or can my piece be fired?
Yes. The drying process takes several months. Firing fees run from $12 to $25.
What size are the portraits I will do in class?
Portrait projects will vary in size from 3/4 to life-size and the Torso and Full Figure are generally 1/3 life size during the Three-Day Class Sessions.
Can I give your class as a gift for the holidays, birthdays or special events?
Yes, please see the "Gift Certificate" tab under the Classes menu. I do require my students to be a minimum age of 18. Although, I have accepted students who are (a mature) 15 years old.
Clay & Patina Questions
What kind of clay do I use?
I prefer to use a low-fire (fires to cone 06), white earthenware (water-based) clay without grog. Clays are manufactured locally so one purchased in California will be different from one on the East Coast. Ceramic supply shops are the best source for this type of clay. I use Laguna EM-210 (available at Alpha Fired Arts in Sacramento).
Is it necessary to fire water-based clay?
That depends. Sculptures that are left to dry and are not fired can last for years; however they are somewhat fragile and should not be exposed to the elements. If a piece is to be saved, it should be hollowed-out and fired in a ceramic kiln - as we do in my class. Clay Arts Studio as well as some ceramic shops and colleges offer this service usually for a small fee. After, it can be left natural or a patina can be added.
Do you use a patina for your fired clay pieces?
Yes. I use acrylic paints and metal waxes. The Metal Waxes comes from Sculpt Nouveau in Escondido, CA. There are numerous books that discuss finishes that can be created on a ceramic surface.
Surface Decoration: Finishing Techniques includes an article written by Philippe Faraut on his wax and dust method.
What can I do if my clay sculpture gets musty?
Water-based clay projects can get moldy smelling if kept damp under plastic. To avoid this inconvenience, put 4-5 drops of bleach in a spray bottle with water and spritz the clay before wrapping it at the end of the modeling session.
Is there something to be done for sculptures that develop cracks when they dry?
Hairline cracks will often appear as a water-based clay sculpture dries. To prevent or minimize this, it is best to allow the piece to stabilize under a loose plastic bag for several weeks after the sculpture has been hollowed-out. If cracks do appear the piece should be fired as is and the cracks repaired with acrylic putty or Hydro-Cal (plaster) before a patina is applied.
See "Resources" Tab for more information.
"Quick Draw" Karen Fulk's caricature of me after our sculpting class in July 2015. See her work at www.karenfulk.com