Maria Simon: About the Process

All pieces are built with terra cotta or porcelain clay. Most begin with a slab, to which coils of clay have been added.

Here’s the story of how “Release”, a large outdoor installation, was created.

After meeting with the client, and viewing their courtyard, I generated a concept sketch based on the ideas with which they resonated. Consensus was that they desired a piece that expressed both joyful release and sensuality.

Initial Sketch Concept

Initial Sketch Concept

Greenleag Comm – Start

High points built up before carving begins

High points built up before carving begins

Thick slabs were rolled, and cut to fit together, puzzle-like, on an easel built for the piece.

Greenleaf Commission-slabs cut, fit together, carving begins

Greenleaf Commission-slabs cut, fit together, carving begins

Refining and texturing the apex.

At leather-hard stage some areas are built up with coils; then the largely subtractive work of carving begins.

Carving

Carving

Final cleanup

Final cleanup.

final clean-up before drying and bisque firing

Final clean-up before drying and bisque firing.

Once the carving process is completed each section is dried and bisque fired.

Loading each section in the kiln

Loading each section in the kiln.

Over a period of 4-5 weeks, refinement of the sculpture takes place.
The fine details completed, the piece is inverted onto foam padding, and the entire piece is hollowed from the back.

Greenleaf Commission-terra sig before firing

Greenleaf Commission-terra sig before firing.

raw terra sig on bisqued piece

Raw terra sig on bisqued piece.

After a slow bisque-firing, the piece is remounted on the easel, and painting with terra sigillata commences. This material is a clay slip, milled to fine particle size. Pigments are added, and the surface is painted over a 10 day period.

The piece is burnished, fired a second time, then mounted for final installation.

"Release"- Greenleaf Commission 2012

“Release”- Grenleaf Commission 2012