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Art of Imperfection

A few recent sculptures from Rudkin Studio

Click on photos to read more about them
Big Collar to Fill
I create a lot of parent-baby sculptures and here is the latest. A bull terrier puppy with an oversized collar looks adoringly at the big dog in this sculpture entitled, "Big Collar to Fill." Read more in my web store.
Courage to Spare
This Wizard-of-Oz influenced lion is both brave and generous. The antique medal in his paw can be removed and pinned to the clothes of anyone in need of courage. Read more in my Etsy listing.  
Mugsy
An undeveloped eye helps make the pug in this custom dog sculpture unique. I often make mismatched eyes anyway. Read more about custom pet sculptures on my website.

Studio News

Here's what's coming up at
Rudkin Studio...

 

NEW Blog on Website
After a break of literally years, I have re-started a blog on my website and plan to add one posting each month. It will contain practical information (such as how to display sculptures, how to repair a break) as well as insights about art making (such as what I learned about commissioning sculptures from getting my first and only tattoo), and thoughts about the art business. The art business is the focus of my new blog post on how yearly themes have helped me thrive.


Taking Custom Orders
I am finally caught up on custom orders from the holidays (my apologies if I wasn't able to take yours on) and the spring/ summer
rush has not yet descended. So now is a great time to contact me if you want to discuss your ideas! Sculptures are usually built hollow and so most designs can be adapted to serve as urns if desired, as was the case with the two cat friends in the sculpture above. See examples of custom pet sculptures on pinterest

Going Big
This year I plan to create more large sculptures-- hopefully some of my biggest ones yet! And now I have some help. After entertaining the possibility for years, I finally bought a slab roller for my studio. Like many clay sculptors, I build my pieces hollow using slabs and the roller allows me to create large slabs of even thickness with the simple crank of a handle. Keep up-to-date with the new sculptures as they take shape on my facebook page.
 

What will this device lead to?






 
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An Artist's Life

The Art of Imperfection


     I do not begin sculptures with a vision of a finished piece. I don’t even make preliminary sketches. I start with a spark of an idea and discover the sculpture as it takes shape. This dialogue of creation inspires me. I don't try to control the piece. I try to catch a little magic, seeking character and personality rather than perfection.

To banish imperfection is to destroy expression ... to paralyze vitality â€“ John Ruskin.


     There is space for imperfection at every stage of my sculpting. Building from different colored clays is one of my signature techniques. I incorporate as many as five different clay bodies into a single piece. Here’s the tricky part: every clay shrinks at a different rate! Every bag of clay has a different moisture content AND each colored clay has a characteristic shrinkage rate. Over the years I have learned how to help the different clays work with each other but gaps and cracks appear. Generally, I like them!
     After the first bisque firing to a “low” temperature of 1911º F I cover the sculptures with a pasty aqua stain that I then wipe off, trusting the remaining stain to settle where it should. The stain turns black in the final firing (2165º F), adding dimension to the sculpture. It also adds unpredictability. 
     When I began to incorporate antique toys into my sculptures, I found that I preferred toys with “battle scars.” I love the texture and color of rust. A lost wheel lessens the chance of the toy rolling off the table. And these signs of use speak to a history that makes the toy truly one-of-a-kind.
     To my eyes, the emergent qualities of the sculpture, the little cracks, the unpredictable effects of stain, and even the brokenness of an antique toy add to the charm and uniqueness of the piece. Little flaws make the piece more lovable and sometimes it’s the imperfections that bring the sculpture to life.

The missing canopy and driver in this antique ice cream truck left room for a polar bear vendor to serve his penguin customers
Copyright © 2016 Rudkin Studio, All rights reserved.


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