Tag Archives: art teacher

Video Tutorial: Sculpting open eyes in clay, by Joanna Mozdzen


A look at downtown London (Ontario) during a winter morning. By Mathew Campbell via Wikimedia Commons

I hope you enjoy this video tutorial as much as I do! It is one of the best I’ve seen and sculptor Joanna Mozdzen is indeed a master. She immigrated to London, Ontario, Canada from Poland, having also spent a year and a half in Italy absorbing the art and architecture. In her artist statement, she says, “In 2007, I overcame my personal fears and dedicated myself to a full-time career as a Sculptor/Mask maker.” I think this is something to which we can all relate: the fact that we must surmount our fears in order to pursue our art. And surmount it she did, as evidenced by the amazing body of work she has created.  “As a young child I loved to draw and the main themes of my artistic endeavours have mostly focused on the human face, with an emphasis on its varied facial expressions,” states Mozdzen. She recently taught an introduction to sculpting the human figure at the Arts Project  in London, Ontario. Please take a look at this beautiful video tutorial, complete with a tasteful and unobtrusive soundtrack.


Filed under Current Events, Featured Artists, How-to-do-it, Videos/Photos/Slides

The Student and Teacher’s Thixotropic Clay

Goopy, gloopy. Oozing, dripping. These are attributes of thixotropic clay, the properties of which are caused by deflocculation. The usual ways we work with clay are out of the question. “The clay appears to be firm but becomes increasingly fluid when manipulated,” writes Glenn  Nelson. Thixotropic clay returns to its original state when it’s allowed to set. Graduate student Carol Jeanne Abraham developed a formula for porcelain with these properties. According to Nelson, it is made into a slip, then aged for a long time. Here is Abraham’s formula:

It is almost impossible to find information on thixotropic clay. Nelson’s A Potter’s Handbook devoted quite a bit of space to it, but I have seen nothing about this form since. This is one of  the reasons for my post today. The clay body has such unique properties, it needs to see the light of day once again. In addition, Nelson passed away last April, almost a year ago and, while I will write a tribute to him another time, I am thinking of him as I write. His instructions for making a pot from thixotropic clay begin with directing us to stretch and fold the clay to activate its special properties. “Then gradually work it into a shape that can be draped over a mold,” he says. Leave it until it starts to set, then you can work with it again. The vessel needs to be taken off the mold as soon as possible, but he said “the surface may appear deceptively dry when the form is still quite plastic.” Working with thixotropic clay will take practice. Sagging is one of the problems you’d come up against. Also, Nelson said that, given its 6% shrinkage rate, glazes typically used for porcelain won’t work. He suggests using a glaze for cone 5 or lower. When the vessel is fired at cone 9, though, this glaze will craze slightly, he said. “The effects of fluidity and apparent motion will appeal to many potters, especially those interested in decorative and sculptural forms,” he concludes. When I think of Glen Nelson, I am reminded of university days, when we experimented with forms, textures, glazes, and clays. To me, thixotropic clay reminds me of those days…undefined territory, effort, and the joy that comes from learning and playing. Hats off to you, Glenn Nelson….


Filed under Articles and Interviews

Pauline Doyle’s Solo Show: “Still Life”

Port Moody Arts Centre presents Pauline Doyle in a solo show opening Friday, November 12th. Still Life will be shown in the 3-D Gallery at the centre, located at 2425 St. Johns St., Port Moody, and the Opening Reception runs from 6-8 p.m.

“Resident Artist Pauline Doyle wears many hats at the Port Moody Arts Centre. She runs the Open Studio sessions, looks after kiln firings, mixes slips and glazes, orders materials and instructs hand-building courses. At other times, you may find her creating ceramic artwork in her own studio at the centre.

A graduate of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia, Pauline continued with her study of ceramics at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.”


Filed under Current Events, Featured Artists