Materials – Male Figure

Students are responsible to purchase and bring their own materials, you can also purchase an armature and clay through dogtown. If you have any questions about materials, contact or JJ at

Armature: Details on how to make an armature are in the PDF below. An aluminum wire armature is recommended for most students (24 – 30″ figure height). The advantage of a wire armature is you can work very quickly and easily adjust the position of your figure at any time without collapse. The disadvantage of working on an armature is that it can’t be fired and molding/casting is needed to create a permanent piece. But the goal of this class is to learn how to sculpt the standing figure in clay, not a finished permanent piece. For advanced students who are extremely patient, there’s an option to sculpt on a minimal armature, where the piece can be released and fired in a kiln. Most of the armature supplies can be purchased at Home Depot/Lowes or similar hardware stores, the aluminum wire can be purchased at Douglas and Sturgess. You can also order a complete 30 ” figure wire armature from Paul for ~$165 ( or buy one online (24″ example here, 30″ example here) or similar sites. If you need help or advice building your armature, contact Paul and he can also help you at Dogtown on Saturday March 11 (~2 pm). Details of the armature:

30 Inch Figure template:

Clay: Bring 2 bags of water clay that you’re familiar with and like to use. For ease of use, Soldate 60 is recommended for beginners. Best place to buy clay is Clay People in Richmond. Avoid buying water clay at chain art stores (e.g. Blick) that is often old, dry, and hard (unusable). You can also order any water clay available from Clay People at cost through Paul (

Miscellaneous: Bring a spray bottle (for water), thin plastic bags (e.g. dry cleaning bags), and one large thick garbage bag to cover and keep your piece moist and in working condition. Also bring a 6 inch bar clamp or similar to secure your armature to the sculpture stand.

Tools: The best sculpture tools are your hands and fingers. Bring and use tools that you like. If you are new to sculpture, buy just a few tools to try, such as large rake tools, a wood knife tool for drawing and cutting, and various wood modeling tools to press and rake the clay. JJ will also go over options for tools at the first class. Best place to buy tools is Douglas and Sturgess in Richmond (and SF) or online from SculptureHouse. Clay People also has some tools. Experienced students may like some wood modeling tools from Tiranti. Examples of tools:

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