Thursday, April 14, 2011

Child Armature

Now that I have the two heads made in proper proportion to each other, I can made the armature.

 We want start with a 5/32 brass tube which will be the outside of the support for the entire load-bearing portion of the sculpture. This tube runs from inside the base to the shoulder where the rod for the demon will insert into it.
Using my proportion chart with the armature drawn on it, I mark the bends on the tube and cut it off at the proper length on the bottom.
Inside this tube will be a brass support rod to stiffen the tubing and act as s top for the demon support rod. The support rod is cut about 3/4" shorter than the tube so the demon support rod can insert into the top of the tube by about 3/4".
This rod is a brass alloy welding rod which fits snugly inside the tube. Welding rods can be found at most home centers, or welding or farm supply stores.
 The rod is inserted into the tube and together they are bent to match the profile of the drawn armature.

 Here is the support tube/rod with another short length of 3/16 tubing over the bottom 1/2" so it will fit into my work base.
Using my demon drawing as my guide, I bend another length of the welding rod for the demon support.
This is the demon support placed into the tube/rod assembly.

 For now I will cut a 5/32 tube to length which fits into the hole in the demon skull and slides down over the support rod so I can see the height of the finished piece as I sculpt.
 This is the basic support system for the sculpture. The two body armatures will attach to the 5/32 tubing.
I now take a 14 gauge wire and bend it to create the torso and leg part of my child's body armature.

Another 14G wire is bent for the torso, shoulder, arm section of the armature.
The lower portion of the armature is attached with foil tape. You can solder these together to the tube if you want but the tape works just as well.
The torso portion of the upper body armature is overlapped on the lower section of armature and they are taped together as well. A short wire is inserted into the taped area to act as the neck.
Notice that the armature is attached in front of the demon support rod coming out of the shoulder so the rod can re pulled straight up and out of the tube.

The armature from the front shows how the child's body is tilted to give the feeling of movement to the figure.
 The armature is padded slightly with foil to bulk out the figure. We want about 1/4" of clay at any point on the finished figure.

The entire armature is wrapped in masking tape to keep oxidation from the wire, foil, and tubing from getting into the clay.

The finished child armature is ready to add time.
Sorry for the bad photos lately but my good camera needs to be repaired and I am using my old camera with focus issues.
Have a great day!


  1. You make this look so easy and I'm sure it is not! LOL This is going to be fascinating to see you create this piece! Thanks for teaching us so much!

  2. Do you ever have a problem with the piece moving or spinning about ? Would the base need to be made thicker so the brass tube would be more stable? Do you insert the brass tube directly to the wood base or is there a brass tube in the base that the sculpture's tube is set into ?

  3. To avoid the piece spinning, you can add a piece of hollow square stock to the tubing by slipping a larger size over your tube and soldering them together. I simply make sure my piece is balanced as I go so the weight isn't off to one side which makes a piece spin. A thicker base is always helpful so your support rod can be longer to hold better. The tube or rod can be inserted into the base directly or you can add a tube or rod in the base to slip into or over depending on how you are building your armature. All your decision. I usually just drop the tube/rod into the base as I have shown.

  4. I am mesmerized in watching this take shape. And the sneak peek in the post about cracking, well, I'm getting antsy!

  5. Mark...thank you for letting us "peek" into your creative world. You give so much inspiration and are an excellent teacher. ^_^

  6. Ti ho conosciuta per caso, ma le tue creazioni mi ha ipnotizzato… sei bravissimo chissà quanto tempo ci metti per realizzare queste meraviglie? scusa ma non parlo inglese saluti dall'italia rosa

  7. Rosa, Thank you. It takes about 20 hours to complete a sculpture unless I am doing something complicated. Sorry for the English, I read some Italian but can't write or speak it at all.

  8. Hello! Can you tell me where can I buy a brass tube or order it, because I am from Canada. Tankyou for your answer. I really appréciante all of your work.