Boris was not the inspiration for this figurine although I have been taking a figure drawing class and drawing Boris for practice. No, he does not pose for me. What cat would? But he is good for ten nanosecond poses and gesture drawing. Sculpting a cat figurine sounded like a a fun idea. I have sculpted two cats before, but both were in polymer. Now that I have access to a pottery studio, I decided to try my hand at making a terra cotta cat which is a horse of a totally different hue.
Here are the preliminary stages of the figurine. You have to be careful not to leave any air bubbles in the clay. Small ones will probably dry closed but big ones can explode in the kiln. And unless all the clay is thoroughly dry inside and out, there is a danger of explosion in the kiln.
Here is where I started adding character. You will note that the cat looks well fed. In fact, I had to make his tummy hollow to insure that the clay would dry and that the figurine would not weigh a ton. I made an air hole underneath the figurine, wrapped it in plastic, and when the clay was hard enough, I put the puss on two sticks so air would reach the hole and dry inside. I put the figurine aside and forgot about it for a few weeks as it dried out slowly-the best way to prevent cracking. I did some painting with underglaze before putting the cat in the kiln. When he came out in one piece, the hard part was over,
I glazed the cat with matte clear glaze for the final firing. the white, orange, blue and other colors you see are the underglaze.
And here is the finished cat! His I.D tag, which is hard to see, says “Tiny.”
The resident art critic seems to approve.