"Sculpting the Figure
with Vala Ola "
Vala Ola will take you through the process of creating a figurative
sculpture suitable for casting in bronze. Finished figure will be approx.
1/3 life-size (24”). Working from a live model, she will focus on anatomy,
curves and planes, bone structure, rib cage and pelvis. Attention will be
given to facial features and sculpting beautiful hands and feet, fleshy
forms vs. defined muscles, use of shadows, composition and leading the eye,
texture and lost edges, drapery and building an armature. We will finish
with learning how to add your own personal twist to the pose.
SCULPTING THE FIGURE 1:4 SIZE
The female figure created in clay will stand 17" tall head to toe – 1:4 life-size
Online stores that carry sculpting materials are f. ex. Anatomytools.com, SculptureHouse.com, Sculpture Depot CO, Reynolds Advanced Materials. Then a trip to a local hardware store
6 lbs. of oil-based clay (3 two lbs. cubes).
I use myself Chavant - Le Beau Touche clay, color green, grade of hardness: High Melt (HM) which is the harder version of this clay. Other oil-based clays will work fine too (avoid clays with toxic sulfur). Keep in mind that for this size figure I recommend the clay to lean on the harder side.
You can purchase an armature instead of building it, 1:4 life-size figure, along with the armature stand and board. One of the best is from AnatomyTools.com but not always in stock
BUILD YOUR OWN ARMATURE
You can learn to build your own armature. I have designed a 1:4 life-size armature that will fit into a flat 10 gallon plastic bin (Walmart) which fits into a large suitcase. To build it with me at the beginning of the workshop please bring:
FROM THE HARDWARE STORE
1 white melamine particle board 3/8" thick, size 14" x 5 1/2"
They might cut it to size for you at Home Depot.
Following available f.ex. in Lowes which carries the 3/8" pipes.(not Home Depot, at least not in my home town)
1 galvanized 3/8" diameter floor flange - (will be placed at the extreme corner of the board, not centered!)
1 galvanized 3/8" diameter nipple (threaded pipe), 3" long - (goes into flange)
1 galvanized 3/8" diameter coupling – (goes onto the 3" nipple)
1 galvanized 3/8" diameter nipple (threaded pipe), 6" long - (goes into the coupling)
1 galvanized 3/8" diameter tee - (goes on top of the 6" nipple turned as a T)
1 galvanized 3/8" diameter nipple (threaded pipe) 3/8" diameter, 4" long. - (goes horizontally into the cross shaped coupling then sideways into the gluteus maximus)
4 screws, #10 x ¾" long for the armature flange
1 C-clamp (for clamping the board to the sculpting table).
IF you are transporting the sculpture via shipping or flying you also might want to bring some support around the sculpture in case the suitcase is flipped upside down. I use pieces sliced out of the large 4’x 8’ pink or blue sheets of dense insulation boards from the hardware stores. (they don’t leave white popcorn everywhere)
20 feet of 1/8" Armature wire (1 roll)
2 feet of very fine (26 gauge) floral wire cloth coated (for the fingers)
(amazon, Walmart, hobby stores)
1 measuring tape
1 small (#2 or smaller) old artist’s paint paintbrush. My favorite for detailing faces is Silver Ruby Satin brush Series 2501 Flat size 2. It’s quite firm after trimming it short and doesn’t leave scratches.
1 mini-sized long nose is good to have (approx. 5" total length of tool)
1 smaller long nose (needle nose) pliers/wire cutter (approx. 7" total length of tool)
1 pipe wrench (we’ll have ones to borrow)
1 drill. (optional, we’ll have one to borrow)
Wire loops serrated: Various size.
The serrated bull nose wire end modeling tools are my favorite (I only recommend loops with a serrated edge, non-serrated wire loops are useless when "raking" bumps out of the surface of the muscles). The sizes I use a lot are the following:
Small - Single wire end modeling tools, serrated bull nose
6/16" wide and 9/16" wide, f.ex. tool #404A, $16 at Sculpture House
Medium - Double wire end tool, serrated bull nose
f.ex. 7/8" wide loop, tool #222, $14 Sculpture House
Large - Double wire end modeling tool, serrated bull nose shape on one end, f.ex. 1 3/8" wide, tool #209, $18 at Sculpture House
Mini steel detailing tool, loop. Those are always non-serrated (width 5/16", f. ex. tool #610, $10 at Sculpture House
To lengthen the life of your wire loops: Buy a stick of epoxy putty and pack it tight around the base of the loop.
Wooden modeling tools with mostly straight flat edge. Below is a list of the ones I use a lot:
Medium 1/2" wide and 5/8" wide
Small 1/4" wide
Small wood modeling tool, pointed end (1/4" wide, often found to be the other end of the small wood with the small 1/4" straight flat edge).
Miniature wood flat one is nice to have for the face (width 3/16" or so).
Miniature flat edge dental tool (or similar small tool, my favorite is straight and shaped like a steak knife at the tip)
Proportional calipers, that will downsize to 1/4 size, available 18" long for $90. (Optional, we’ll have some to borrow, they are costly)
1 terry cloth rag to clean hands
1 small paring knife (3" blade kitchen knife), make sure it’s not sharp!
1 scour pad (the green heavy-duty Scotch Brite works well)
1 little piece of yellow sponge (optional)
1 Goo Gone spray cleaner (optional)
3 feet of aluminum (kitchen) foil (optional)
20 wooden toothpicks
Please bring all your supplies to the workshop.
To view Vala Ola’s artwork go to
Let’s have fun sculpting. I’m looking forward to a good group.
If you have question, please contact me at:
480-202-6085 call or text!
Oklahoma Sculpture Society
Policy, Procedures and
to the generosity of several individuals, scholarships to help defray the cost
of workshops and other educational opportunities are available to Oklahoma
Sculpture Society (OSS) members in good standing. These
monies may only be used for scholarships. Money
from general revenue funds may not be used for Scholarships without unanimous
approval of the OSS Board of Directors (Board).
scholarships may be used to attend sculpture workshops that are deemed eligible
by the Board. The workshop may cover
any sculpture discipline, medium or genre and instruct how to create figurative,
modern or abstract three dimensional form. Two
dimensional workshops are not eligible for scholarships.
applicant must be an active member of the OSS for a minimum of 2 years prior to
applying for a scholarship.
applicant must show an aptitude for three dimensional art, and meet the criteria
for being included in the workshop.
as well as more experienced sculptors may qualify for scholarships.
forms may be submitted at any time during the year.
There must be adequate time for review by the OSS Board of Directors
prior to the start of the workshop. “Adequate
time” is determined by the Board.
completed form is to be mailed to:
Thomas, 10804 Major Ave. OKC, OK 73120.
board of Directors will review them on a first come first served basis and the
selection will be at the sole discretion of the Board.
of each scholarship will be determined by the Board based on needs of the
applicant and available funds.
may receive only one scholarship.
Revenue Service regulations require by law (code section 53.4945-4[c]) that
non-profit organizations retain evidence that scholarship moneys are used for
their given purpose. Therefore, as a matter of proper procedure, the Oklahoma
Sculpture Society requires.
The scholarship check will be issued as payable to the entity (Sponsor/Person)
conducting the workshop.
Following the workshop, you must send verifiable documentation showing you
attended and completed the workshop to Glen Thomas.
you for applying.
Scholarship Application Form
Zip Code __________
(You will be contacted using either phone or email
What is the name of your
What year did you become a
member of the OSS? ___________________
How long have you been
What is your medium: (bronze,
welded steel, clay, stone, wood, etc.) ________________________
Name of the Workshop.
Name of Instructor.
Location: (City, State. Zip) ________________________________________________________
Please let the Board know
why you wish to attend this workshop.
person/group: (Such as Scottsdale
Artist’s School … or Bryen, Sculptor)
Address Street/PO box:
_______________________________________ Phone: _________________