Having worked at the Sacramento Zoo for many years, I developed a deep understanding of the Animal Kingdom and wanted to create my own distinctive representation of a mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish. First I had to prepare my five, 5" X 7" wooden boards: sand, stain and embellish.
To create one animal takes several steps. As seen here with the Horned Toad, first mold the clay into the most basic of shapes. Then cut it in half to be able to hollow out the center. Put it back together and start adding details, and if there are limbs, add them. There are always finishing touches that must be added, like I am doing to the Flying fox.
When all the animals are completed, they must thoroughly dry and then be bisque fired in a kiln. Here you can see my animal kingdom at the leather-hard stage, at the beginning of the drying process. The Horned Toad's little legs are taped down so that they will not rise up off the board during the drying process.
Once the pieces are out of the kiln I had to decide what glazes to use. I always write down the glazes I use in a log book, so that I can keep track of what works and what doesn't. These glazes all start out looking various shades of red and grey, but when they are fired again in the kiln, they will change dramatically!
Here are my finished pieces, mounted on their boards.
My Animal Kingdom: Mammal - Flying Fox, Bird - Raven, Reptile - Horned Toad, Amphibian - Bullfrog, Fish - Seahorse.
FOOTNOTE: Last night was our December 1st reception for the Small Treasures' Show. It was a SMASHING success! I am thrilled and honored to have sold all FIVE of my panels! One patron tried to buy the entire series as a whole, but the first panel, the Flying-fox had already sold. WOW!
- Jane Hansjergen, EGFAC Member Artist