John has gone through a great deal of transformation. If you remember we had just received the foam armature of John in December.  Here is some transitional photographs showing the process. This shows just a glimpse into the many, many hours of creating before approval of a sculpture. If you want to see the final results of the John Turner sculpture in clay be sure to check out the approval blog post.

CNC foam armature and clay.
First I carve the foam carving it to the right design.
Slowly I move around and down John. The foam
is covered with a foundry wax and a layer of clay.
A base coat is added and then thicker layers.
clay sculpture on a 3D cnc foam armature by Texas, artist Bridgette Mongeon
Slowly we move down the body. Working with
folds and capturing movement is the goal. Still,
there are other elements that we must add that
play a part in the scene. John’s hands are pivotal.
the right is holding a brief case, and the left
the harness.  The position of these additional
elements may change the arms and the folds.
The brief case is much to heavy to put on him.
it would break his hand and arm. Putting these
elements together will take a lot of time and
The other element that is important is
of course the dog.  We juggle trying to have the
room to work on John, and needing the
interaction with the dog. 

Off with his head! No, this is not just something from my previous Alice project. It is something I do with all of my sculptures. It is easier to flip his head around and see what is needed. I’ll can easily attach his head back to the body. I’ll do this many times. I also like having both printed photos and photos on my computer. I can zoom in on these.
A visitor. My granddaughter plays with play dough and
watches tv while gamma works. 

This is a sculpture created of John Turner for the city of Frisco. The entire project is documented on a project blog at

Moving on to the next part of this project. The foam does not look like much now. Poor pooch. It will soon be an amalgamation of the look, and energy of 8 seeing eye dogs. The creative energy on this part of the project nearly has me jumping out of my skin. Here is to…
1. Villa November 21,1953
2. Inky February 15, 1964
3. Pepper May 1, 1977
4. Gordy April 7, 1979
5. Steffie January 4,1989
6. Corinne September 20,1993
7. Robyn March 29, 2003
8. Eben May 23, 2014 So excited to get started on this part. I can feel the dogs. They have been having in the studio for months waiting patiently for their turn.  I can also feel their love and commitment.  What they have done, what they have provided. This is such an honor.  Keep watching. 

This is a sculpture created of John Turner for the city of Frisco. The entire project is documented on a project blog at

Some relatives posted : “Hope this all goes well. I’m very excited. Each of those special dogs has been important in our lives beyond comprehension. They were unique, brilliant, loyal individuals. You’ve got a lot of greatness to work with!”

Many pieces of the sculpture are cut off, added on, taken off and added again.  You will see, after our final approval, that John and his dog will be cut apart one more time for mold making.

We have a night and day thing going. It is is also a tag team effort.  I work late at nights and early morning and weekends, then my interns come in and clean up after me and smooth the clay.  They really rock this part and make my life so  much easier.  Sometimes they can work on things that are cut off while I work on the torso.

I love listening to books while I work.  It is funny. I have been overdosing on a young adult novel series about spirit animals.  Just realized how significant that is to this project.

It is much easier to work on hands while they are off of the body.
The hand on the left is holding the harness portion. I would have
loved to get a real harness and cast it. I tried, but The Light House
said they destroy them. I was sent one by the Turners, but I can’t
make a mold of it as it is very special.  Having a harness to cast
would have saved me so many hours of work. Instead
we are fabricating one.

This is a sculpture created of John Turner for the city of Frisco. The entire project is documented on a project blog at

Let me catch everyone up on the progress at the studio. We have been so busy working it is hard to write blog posts. The foam of John Turner came back.  As I may have said, this foam is taken is from the small maquette that we scanned. Seems like a lot of work to do to get an enlargement that is really very vague in form.  The reason it is like this is that milling can’t capture everything and the more time on the mill the more it costs. Also, what works as something small does not always work as something large.  I can hardly wait to get my hands on the foam, it is here that everything comes to life. The foam and the maquette did two things.

  • Gave us a pose from which to work. 
  • Helped us enlarge the sculpture in a more timely matter. 

What we do with the foam.

  • Secure the foam together using spray foam insulation
  • Carve foam to give detail
  • Cut foam and change positions of appendages to get a better movement of overall design
  • Put a layer of wax on the foam
  • Put a fine layer of clay on the foam
  • Cut pieces again and arrange. 
CNC foam and 3D technology - enlarging sculpture using technology
The foam came right before the Christmas Party.  We
hurriedly stuck him together so others could see our intent.
This picture was taken around December 10th. 
clay sculpture on a 3D cnc foam armature by Texas, artist Bridgette Mongeon
This image was taken January 14th. Still much to do.
We changed a lot of things since this picture.  

This is a sculpture created of John Turner for the city of Frisco. The entire project is documented on a project blog at

Yes, it is true that I have just come from sculpting Alice In Wonderland. So, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! may sound like I am reiterating a story. But for me, off with their head, and turning things upside down is not just something in Wonderland, but something I do in my own studio.

Just like in Alice in Wonderland it is “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!”

Alice in Wonderland is at the foundry in Santa Fe and expected delivery is Spring of 2017 in Houston.  Pieces of Alice and her friends are about the studio, heads are rolling. We are recouping the clay from Wonderland and using some of it on John Turner. So don’t be surprised if there is a bit or magic and curiosity surrounding John.

How to capture a look of a man over so many years of life?  His face changes, he has so many expressions.  I especially love this photograph. I love how he smiles with his entire face.  I’m busy working on a head, elsewhere someone is working on his boots and briefcase, while others put clay on a torso. It is great to go ring in the new year with John Turner.  A foam dog sits in pieces under an upside down Christmas tree in my studio. I can actually hear it whining for attention.

I hope I can post pictures soon.

The most animated photos are those with his daughter.  My heart just jumps when I see them.

Well, we are on our way with John Tuner.
The first step is an armature, that armature came in this week.  Yes, I have a John Turner in a box.
Inside this box are many pieces of foam similar to the digital model.

This foam is used as a basic armature for the sculpture. Now, I can really get into detail. I have been waiting for this moment for so long. I can hardly wait any longer.

There will be a lot more activity on this blog, now that this has come in.  Please stay tuned.  It is a long process.  We will be busy, but I’ll try to post process pictures. You must promise to be patient, it goes through a process, and at first glance you will say, “What, the heck? This is not John Turner. ”  But until you see me do my magic.

3D zbrush model in the computer

To start a project I often will create small maquettes or clay sculptures. To enlarge these using digital processes I use 3D scanning and CNC Milling. I talk about my process quite a bit in my new book 3D Technology In Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling. 
Let me enlighten those who are new to my process.

I had a company that came in and scanned John for me. There is a new video of that scan in the previous post. I can’t wait to get to work on this. I can do a lot of things int he computer that are harder to do with the real clay. The first thing I did was enlarged the dog.  I’ll play with both of these – the dog and John until I get it the way I want it. There is no reason to put a lot of detail in this part, it is proportions I’m after. The detail will come when we get the foam back.

The foam acts as an armature for our clay.  I’m tickled to get started.

3d scanning Texas artist Bridgette Mongeon's sculpture.

I decided to scan John with a different scanner, actually a scanning company that has been working with me on another project will be scanning the small clay figure of John. I’m patiently awaiting the scan of the maquette. I have some things that I want to do on the sculpture in the computer.  After that, it will be sent to my enlarging company where they will enlarge John and his dog in urethan foam.  Here is a video showing the CNC milling on the March Hare for the recent Alice in Wonderland sculpture. It is fascinating to see  how it works.

Once milled the urethane foam of John will be shipped to my Houston studio, where we can begin the wonderful process of bringing the sculpture to life. Meanwhile, we have been dismantling the Alice in Wonderland sculpture so that we can repurpose the clay. You can say that John will have a little Wonderland in him. We now have room for John, and are just waiting on the scanning company. Can’t wait to get him here.