Introducing my ceramic wall mounted moose head: Thunderbolt.

Meet Thunderbolt! I created him on a 4-day course at the Sculpture Lounge Studios in Holmfirth. I always want to push myself, as I’ve never been one for taking the easy route (unless it’s to a bar!) There’s lots to learn, but it’s incredibly fun, and you meet some truly great people.

I never really struggle for an idea or inspiration. In fact, more often than not, I have too many ideas, so it helped to make up small mocetes to narrow my ideas down to what I really fancied doing.

I started with the main section of the head, which I had to amend a few times because every time I stepped away for a breather, I came back and realised I wasn’t happy with what was in front of me (this happens a lot!). But that’s one of the brilliant things about working with clay – you can cut, chop and change whatever you want along the way, you just have to be abit brave about making the changes.

I made the antlers separately to ensure it would fit in the kiln. I wanted the look and texture of the antlers to be different to the head, so it was suggested that i threw porcelain slip over them on the last day, so the colour would take differently to the area after the first firing.

These three pieces were then left to dry out fully, which took a good few weeks. The first firing was pretty nerve-racking, I was a bit scared my design wouldn’t survive the process. However, this was done by the experts who run the course, so the chance of success was greatly increased!

Once the firing had been successfully completed, I was invited back to colour Thunderbolt. I started by immersing the whole head in black oxide, before thoroughly rinsing it off. Oxide is great, because it gets into all the nooks and crannies, and highlights the various textures perfectly.

I then painted lots of colours all over Thunderbolt. It kind of blew my mind, because it’s hard to see what the colour will actually look like in the end. It’s totally different to what I’m used to when creating my oil paintings!

The piece was left to dry once more before a final firing. I crossed all my fingers and toes in the hope that it would survive the second time around. There where a few mishaps, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.

Finally, the antlers were glued into place, and Thunderbolt the moose made his journey home with me. Turns out he’s pretty heavy, so it was a bit of a struggle mounting him on the wall – but it was definitely worth it!

I absolutely loved creating this “wild one”, which makes up one of my most recent collections. Massive thanks to Brendan Hesmonhalgh and Tim Cricklow for inspiring me and getting me to an awesome end product. Bring on the next one!

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