Materials – Portrait

If you have any questions about materials, contact or JJ at

Portrait Armature: The portrait armature is comprised of 3/4 inch thick, 12 x 12 inch plywood, a 3/4 inch diameter by 12 inches long threaded metal pipe and pipe flange secured with screws and bolts to the center of the board. The screws can be countersunk under the board or two strips of 3/4 inch plywood “feet” can be added to the bottom of the board, so countersinking is not necessary while also making it easier to lift and move your piece. All of the armature materials can be purchased at most hardware stores (e.g. home depot). JJ will provide twine and a wood cross piece for the pipe.

Clay: Bring 1 1/2 bags of water clay that you like to use. If you don’t want to recycle your clay skull sculpture (made during the first two classes), you will need 3 bags of clay. Soldate 60 is recommended for those new to clay. Best place to buy clay is Clay People in Richmond. Avoid buying water clay at chain art stores that is often old and hard (read: unusable). You can also order 2-3 bags of any water clay at cost available from Clay People through Dogtown (

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.

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 small and 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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