• Lee Plaza Lion model

    The firing is finished, 33-1/4 hours and here’s the lion in the kiln as I had it, the only way it would fit and the shelf set in on edge was necessary to keep him from falling forward, it worked perfectly and did not mar or discolor the clay at all where there was contact.


    The clay fired model on the floor below a cast from the mold which was made of the damp clay model. There is about a 2″ shrinkage which can be seen easily, and it also shows somewhat why I made the mold while the clay was still most- to retain most of the size.

    Screen shot 2013-05-25 at 3.34.00 PM

    Screen shot 2013-05-25 at 4.02.33 PM

  • Lee Plaza lion model

    With the original model completely dried out yesterday, I decided to go ahead and fire him in the kiln, so last night I programmed a new sequence with longer/slower heating rates, giving the model 9 hours @ 195º to make sure it’s good and dry all the way through, and then essentially rise about 75º an hour for a segment, and 80º for the last segment to 2046º which will make it 33-1/4 hours total. It’s a large heavy model so this should work fine.

    At the moment I have the dry green model in the kiln at the gallery cooking away. I just about fit in the kiln, it’s a large piece, hopefully with the longer firing time it will do fine.

    I set it to go up 50º an hour to 195º and then hold it for 6 hours to make sure it’s good and dry and warmed up, that should take about 9 hours total.

    Then it goes up 75º an hour to 400º and holds it for 15 minutes.

    Then 75º an hour to 1300º

    Then 80º an hour to cone 01 (2046º)

    Hold for 15 minutes.

    I had fine results with a faster firing on all the other pieces this size except for the one made of raku clay- it blew out by 400 degrees depite being dry for over a year.

    The rest of the pieces were Georgies Three Finger Jack clay, with 2 pieces being Continental course red with grog.

    None of them cracked.

    The lion is sitting upright as it’s the only way it can fit, and it’s forward heavy so I needed to set a kiln shelf in on edge for it to lightly lean against and stay vertical, not the best solution but it should be fine.

    Now after I eat I need to head over and check the kiln and see that it’s right about 195º and working properly. It should be around 500º about the time I head for work so I might check and see.

    I recently had an inquiry from someone asking if I had ever done a horse head before, and the gentleman sent a photo of what he had in mind. I tracked the original version back to the main page on the Library of Congress web site to get the large version and info:

    I figured the piece is about 20-22″ tall but the gentleman had mentioned wanting one “much smaller” though to me 20″ is not very large at all.

    The big issue is the fragile ears, one is broken and the other looks like it was patched at one point on this likely terracotta piece, it’s not a practical design to do in plaster or concrete, it’s more suited for bronze or cast iron unless the mane is creatively re-done to lend support to the ears.

    I went looking for pics on my drive as I know I had some, I found I did have a couple of photos of others, and tracked one back to an address of a former stable in NYC to look up in Google street view. I also discovered I had two other views of another one made of red clay of a salvaged piece sitting in the Brooklyn Museums’ sculpture garden in the fenced off area where a large quantity of architectural sculptures were just dumped there to store them.

    I concluded they were made by the same firm, so as a result I have at least three different views, and could probably find more with a little work.

    I think I’ll add it to my list of models to do.

    Really poor pic from street view of a former stable in NYC, either typical white terracotta or painted white.

    The red terracotta version.

  • Lee Plaza Hotel lion

    Now with the model finished, and the mold of him finished as well, here is the first cast of the lion: