CONCEPTION

From conception to a finished sculpture
All sculptures are originally made from clay. I rarely use pencil and paper as I find clay is a better medium for developing three-dimensional ideas. The clay sculpture will go through many permutations and, after several weeks revisiting my sculpture, I will eventually have a piece that I feel is finished. The following images show the changes from an initial lump of clay to a final clay sculpture ready for mould making.

I started this project by wanting to make a free-standing hollow sculpture in clear glass with an LED cabinet light mounted inside. The base would be a cone similar to the ‘Anvil’. This would be large enough to take the light unit and provide stability.

I wanted the sculpture to be constructed from simple geometric shapes and have an industrial look. I started off by exploring the lower part of my bronze sculpture, ‘Cello’.

Lump of clay shaped into a rough sculpture. Stephen Williams

I constructed a cantilevered beam and semi-elliptical form similar to the ‘Cello’. At the same time, I worked on the reverse side of the sculpture to create a curved form to provide contrast with these angular shapes.
Lump of clay starts to take form. Stephen Williams
To have a clearer focus on each of the shapes, I cut the sculpture into three sections. In this image, the top sits above a truncated cone. The left side of the beam presented an open space which needed to be balanced with the right side of the sculpture. To address this I experimented by adding a cylinder.
Clay sculpture split into sections. Stephen Williams
So as to make a better connection with the main body of this piece, I decided to change the cylinder to a truncated cone. This also helped to break up the flat surface. The base of the sculpture was extended so that the cone intersected the right side of the beam.
Clay sculpture with smooth surfaces. Stephen Williams
In adding the top section, I decided to use a truncated cone so that it created a disjointed continuation of the base. I blended the rear of this into the middle section so that it formed an organic shape.
Clay sculpture with top section. Stephen Williams
The bottom conical section was widened and its height was reduced so that it was better proportioned with the rest of the sculpture. At this stage, I decided to leave the sculpture for a week, so that I could revisit it with fresh eyes.
Clay sculpture showing base connected to the top section. Stephen Williams
My abstract sculptures do not have a clearly defined front and back. As the sculpture is rotated I strive to ensure that each view is unpredictable but also follows a theme and has continuity. In this sculpture, I was pleased with the ‘front’ view and liked the way it contrasted with the organic shape of the rear. However, I felt that there were still issues with the left side of the cantilevered beam and that the rear part of the middle section needed to connect with the base.
Clay sculpture showing issue with beam section. Stephen Williams
To address this, I decided to change the shape of the cantilevered beam and broaden the lower part of the part of the truncated cone so that it intersected the base. 
Clay sculpture after addressing issue with beam section. Stephen Williams
After leaving the sculpture for three weeks, I still felt that there were issues with the left side of the cantilevered beam.
Finished clay sculpture. Stephen WilliamsAfter leaving the sculpture for three weeks, I still felt that there were issues with the left side of the cantilevered beam. I extended this section to make a conical shape similar to an airship. This worked well from the rear. So as to disrupt the symmetry and create continuity with the theme, I added clay to the top right side of this section and made a recess below.

I left the sculpture for another week and this time I felt that it was finished. My next step will be to make a rubber resin mould ready for casting in wax. The sculpture will be cast in glass before the start of the New Zealand summer 2018.