I got my paper clay shipment today, so I was excited to work with it. Unfortunately it didn’t go as well as I would have liked, and today I’m thinking about pitching the paper mache all together and going back to plastilene/plaster as a medium. It’s disappointing to me to even think about this, as I’ve really enjoyed using all of these new materials and trying to figure out how to make the process work. I do, however, have to face the hard reality that I’m just not getting the kinds of results that I’m looking for. I see the portrait heads as being incredibly detailed with all kinds of tiny forms and wrinkles, and I just can’t see how that would be possible with these materials. The forms I was getting today were so mushy and generalized, I found it nearly impossible to get more specific and to achieve undercuts. There are so many subtleties and slight nuances of the form that I wanted to get, but just couldn’t with this material.
The paper clay is really quite amazing as a material, it’s super soft, smooth, and malleable and yet is made of paper pulp. The major drawback though is that I can’t work reductively at all, the paper clay is too soft and fragile. When I tried to use a sculpture tool on it, the paper clay just peeled off the surface. I really, really wanted to avoid plaster and casting for these sculptures, but it’s highly likely at this point that I will be able to keep going with the paper mache.