1. What makes sculpting in clay appealing to you?
I am a tactile person. I love the feel of clay in my hands, the softness of wet clay out of the bag allowing me to quickly rough in the general shape, the leather hard stage providing the perfect texture for carving in intricate details. The smell of earth, the sound of the water as it is sucked into dry clay in a cup— regenerating it into a malleable medium.
Working in this medium for over 25 years there is more. My brain has developed synapsis that are strictly 3 dimensional. I can quickly rough in a figure and gesture, bringing emotion to an object in clay, much faster than I can in a 2d sketch. In fact, I have noticed that my brain misfires, skips, or bluntly—farts when I am trying to bring thoughts from my brain into two dimensions, though I have continued to sketch my entire life, working in clay or a 3D form helps me to express that creativity quicker. My study of emotion in art, especially facial expression and psychology and science behind that, is exhibited in my sculptural forms and my creations of posthumous sculptures. I have trained myself in the precision of finding the emotion and transferring it to the clay. I’m not sure if this transpires in digital form. It probably does, and I do my best to explain it in my lectures, but it is a very abstruse, imperceptible process.
I must say that I do love the immediacy of the medium. I love being able to quickly squeeze and pinch or pull a shape out of a blob. This was probably my most frustrating aspect of digital sculpting, but is quickly changing. I hated having to be bound by the geometry under a piece, it still pisses me off from time to time. Zbrush’s zsketch is more in tuned to my traditional process though I am still butting up against geometry every now and then. I would say the same with being able to pose or move a piece. For me, doing this digitally (Zbrush, Mudbox) is time consuming and leaves me fumbling. I want to play with the form before finalizing it, and I do not feel as comfortable digitally with that as I would like. Some say the geometry is the armature. To me, that is a poor analogy, it is more like grit that is caught in my traditional clay and totally irritating me as I try to dance my hand over it.
This is an interview of 10 questions by Mathias Herbster of FH Vorarlberg University in Austria directed to Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon about the comparison of digital and traditional sculpture.
Bridgette Mongeon is a sculptor, writer, illustrator and educator as well as a public speaker.
Her blog can be found at https://creativesculpture.com.
She is also the owner and creator of the God’s Word Collectible Sculpture series
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