Tag Archives: sculpture

Stick Ladies Part 4 (and an animal, too)

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. Here the new figures assemble themselves to greet the public.

Now, take a look at all of them together. Don’t you want to try to make some yourself?

Stick Ladies Part 3

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

Here are two more stick lady figurines I recently made. I’ve discussed the process in previous posts so I won’t go over it again, but I will tell you a few details about constructing them.

  1. First of all, choose wood that has been off the tree for a while, but is not rotten or soft. Test a branch or stick by banging it hard against a tree or sidewalk. If it breaks, don’t use it.
  2. Learn to use a drill. You will need it for drilling holes through the arms and you will also be making holes in the body, head, and base, for the screws to go into. I improved my drill skills a lot in this simple project (because I had virtually none to start with…)
  3. Woodburning is lots of fun. Try it and you will like it. remember that the tip gets very hot. Just saying.
  4. A hand saw is plenty good for any sawing you will be doing in this project. That was important to me because I have a tendency to cut body parts (off, sometimes) when using sharp blades (no casualties in this project, before you wonder).
  5. I think these figurines could go anywhere you want them to. Make them clothes, wrap them in wire, paint them…I think of many possibilities I would like to try. But I also always want to pay attention to the wood. Each stick is beautiful, with patterns and designs already in place.

OK, here are the two remaining tall figures.

Lady #5:

Lady #6:

Next time I’ll show you a group shot of all the figurines.

Stick Ladies Part 2

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

In this next group, I will show you the next phase of stick lady construction in my recent project. This group has attached arms and…attached heads. Yes. Just take a look.

As I have said before, I collected the body sticks, and for these, I was looking for moderately substantial branches. Once I had found what I wanted (testing them against rotten or decayed wood by banging them against a tree trunk to see if they broke) I sawed them into lengths and went through my dishwasher sanitizing process and let them dry.

I took a smaller-diameter stick and cut it into “head”-sized pieces, matching them with bodies.

Stick Ladies 6-18-20 #3c

Then I chose arms and attached them as before, first drilling a hole and them nailing them to the body.


I created features and clothing with my woodburning tool.  I cut bases from a plank and painted them black.

Stick Ladies 6-18-20 #4e

Then I  assembled them. Today I will show you two, in detail, and later on the other two, that I made in this way.

Using dowel screws I first attached the head and then connected the body to the base. I used differently-sized screws because it was important to get the proportions right. On my first try I chose screws that were too short for the “legs” portion and the figures look squat and ungainly. A longer screw corrected that problem.

Here are two figurines. They range in size from 16-18″ tall, all parts included.

Lady #3:

Lady #4:

I have two more to show you in a later post.


Stick Ladies Part 1

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

Most of this project involved making stick ladies. These I will show you today are derived from the ones I did in the past, which were all in one piece:

I gathered a selection of branches that I thought would be suitable for bodies. I was looking for something a little thicker than the ones I had used in the past.

And I decided to make the new ones with arms. Accordingly I collected sticks of a smaller diameter than the body materials I was looking for.

I peeled or cut off any bark, cut all the sticks into shorter lengths, and ran them through the dishwasher to get rid of any bugs. I let them dry outside for about a week.

And…the arms. I cut them to a good size to fit the figures, first drilling a hole through them and then nailing them on to the body. By drilling first, I reduced my chanced of splitting the wood when I nailed.


Then I got busy with my woodburning set and gave them faces and clothing. I made bases for them from small blocks of wood that I painted black and attached the two pieces with dowel screws.

Here are the results:

Stick ladies group 2 6-20

These two figures are about 12″ tall in total (including the “legs” and base). Here are some detail photos.

Lady #1:

And here is Lady #2:

I like how the natural curve of the wood gives the lady figures a posture and an attitude.

Stick Animal

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

Here is the first example of the recent stick figures I made, though it was the last one I did, and it’s created out of leftovers. Let’s call it Stick Animal.

Stick animal 1 6-20

What started me off on making an animal rather than a person was this knot on the wood. I thought it looked like an eye and I could not stop envisioning it as such.

Stick animal 5 6-20

I tried to figure out how to match it. I ended up taking a small piece of a thin stick and jamming it tight into a washer. Then I drilled out the “body” and inserted the “eye” into it, gluing it tight.

Stick animal 4 6-20

Spoiler alert, all the stick figurines I made in this project have arms, so I had some small stick pieces on hand. I took four sticks at random and nailed them to the body, not worrying about making them even – I was able to move the legs enough to adjust them to allow the animal to stand.

Stick Animal 6-18-20 #1d

So far so good. I decided the animal needed a tail. I had saved the wire from some wirebound notebooks – I cut a piece, stretched it out, and nailed it to the animal.

Stick animal 3 6-20

Now it needed a mouth. This body part had to wait a while – I didn’t know what would be the right thing. Then one day I saw a red bottle cap on the ground. I picked it up, washed it, bent it in half, and nailed it to the animal. Now…he had a mouth with teeth!

Stick animal 6 6-20

I felt this animal was just as he should be. Here he is again.


Little Houses in Terracotta Land

Here are some little clay houses I made in August, 2019. They are just little houses. Not boxes, not condiment containers, just little clay houses. That is all I wanted to make, some little houses!

Terracotta clay, Velvet underglazes and clear glaze, fired at cone 05. About 4″ tall.

Here are two views of the first two. They are decorated on all four sides but I only took photos of two sides.

And the second two.


Concrete Cave Creatures, Revisited

Some time ago, more than two years ago in August 2016, in fact, I ran a little event called Claudia McGill’s Art Camp. In this experience I dedicated myself to using up supplies or trying new-to-me techniques. It broke up the tedium of late summer.

One thing I did – I made some concrete cave creatures. Now, I’ve done a lot of concrete sculpture work, most of it ten years ago or more. In particular, I used a technique in which I filled a form with concrete, let it set up for some hours, and then carved it. 

Well, we had some leftover mortar mix in the garage, and I decided to use it up in making some little animal figures. Now. STOP RIGHT NOW and go to the original post, if you want to have an idea of how these animals were made. And, I’ll pat myself on the back, but I gave a thorough lesson on how to carve concrete in this post, too. You might be interested…

Here’s what the little guys looked like when they had cured:

All right. I left them outside and let them age a bit. Two years later, they were still outside, aging, or most of them were, anyway, as I think I might have given some away. Let’s face it, time passed and I finally came to the realization that I was tired of looking at them – and in a recent yard clean-up, I brought them inside with the vague notion of doing something to them.

Well, what I did was paint their faces with acrylic paint, either black or white, and then I used India ink to draw in little features. The idea was fine as far as it went but suddenly, I felt they needed more…detail.

I grabbed the India ink, a bamboo brush, and I drew in details, all right. Who knew you could combine concrete, paint, and India ink? Now I do. Though how weather-worthy these guys might be, I don’t know. I guess the solution is, keep them inside.

I’m not sure what I will do with them. For now, I just look at them and laugh.

Some sort of little pointed nose animal…

Here is a front view of this fellow plus the decoration on his back.

Sort of a pensive buffalo kind of guy?

For some reason this one reminds me of my cat. No idea why.

He looks a little sad.

Does he have something to hide?

I spilled a little ink on him and realized that he wanted to be a spotted creature.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending October 26


Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Art. Art. Art. Art. Art? Yes!

Saturday, October 20 – Last night I did some sofa art/paint color brochure drawings. I started on this large brochure:

AD 10-20 #202

I’m creating people in the columns with their various body parts inspired by the paint names. Going to be kind of crazy.

AD 10-20 #301

When I’m finished I might cut out the columns and do something with them, or even cut out the squares and mix and match. I’ll have to see what develops.

This afternoon, after a day of doing a lot of errands, I packed up clay for tomorrow’s show. It’s a very nice show, held at a local arboretum, and running from noon to 4 PM, more of an outing than anything else. Which is fine with me. I did the show last year and had a great time. I don’t need to take a lot since the show is such a short one.

AD 10-20 #103

Sunday, October 21 – Today we participated in the Insider Art Show and Sale – we are insiders because we are members of the Arboretum. This event, which is very low-key, coincides with the open day for the mill and the Bloomfield Farm side of the arboretum, which are only open once a month.

We arrived, along with our friend John G., in plenty of time to set up. It was a very cold day for this time of year, about 40 degrees F, and with wind gusts of 30 MPH, it was just…cold. We decided not to set up the tent, as did pretty much everyone else, and we used the provided table. They make everything very simple for us here!

I took a quick walk around the education building. It’s designed to be very green, with a green roof and other features. I am always fascinated by how the equipment parking barn…

AD 10-21 #610

…looks like this on the other side.

AD 10-21 #709

I got my table set up. I did not bring a lot of work to this show. Just enough to fill the table.

Part of the appeal of this show is the demonstrations: Blacksmithing here –

AD 10-21 #1005

and the ever-popular animals from the local agricultural high school. This year they brought two two-month-old pigs and two sheep. The little pigs ran around like crazy for some time:

and then, worn out, they fell asleep.

AD 10-21 #904

The crowds were lighter than usual. The weather was a real impediment.

AD 10-21 #808

However, I enjoyed the show – I like talking to the other vendors, as there are some crafts you don’t often see in other shows, and I enjoyed the weaving and woodworking demos… and of course the animals. But I did have to stay all wrapped up all day (shout out to my sister, who made the hat I’m wearing…)

AD 10-21 #103

This show was the last one of the outdoor season for me. And I think it’s time to be inside from now on!

Monday, October 22 –  I finished my sofa art paint brochure last night – I might decorate the photos in it now, don’t know…

In the afternoon, I worked on more Minuscule illustrations.

AD 10-22 #402

I notice that my sketch book that I use for making quick estimations for the actual drawings is filling up. What can I do with these little vignettes, I wonder? I’ll set that thought aside for later.

AD 10-22 #501

Tuesday, October 23 – More illustrations for my Minuscule book. Guess what – I reached story #75 and so I have a picture for each story. I will scan the remaining images I have in process, put them in the manuscript, and get to work on the overall corrections for the book. Pretty soon I think I will have a finished product! I feel good about this because I’ve been writing the little stories for a year and illustrating for several months. It’s been a project of getting a little done at a time and I’m looking forward to finishing and seeing how my first illustrated book turns out.

Wednesday, October 24 – In the aftermath of finishing the Minuscule work, plus the work I did for Fictive Dream and the September Slam, I’m ready to do a little something different. These two projects were a lot of drawing! I think collage, clay, and painting might be on the table for a little while now. (Then again, if I get an idea and I want to draw it…I can’t be held responsible for what happens next.)

After a project, I like to clean things up and have everything clear. This afternoon I spent some time going over the many, many fragments of drawings and the extra drawings I did for the Minuscule work. I have a LOT of leftover stuff – you may remember that I often made 3-4-5 versions of an illustration before I was happy.

I sorted out scraps and partial drawings and whole drawings and oh look here are some I colored with markers a little while ago…

I put them in envelopes to keep them better organized for when I want to work.

AD 10-24 #202

I have a lot of partially done postcards and ATC’s that might fit with some of these items.

AD 10-24 #303

And some I think might use in my Large Artist Sketchbook. It all just depends. I also dragged this sketchbook out of the pile – it’s one where I’ve practiced making ink figures, you’ve seen it in the past.

AD 10-24 #404

Maybe it might like to be a version of Artist Sketchbook. I added it to the box I’m storing all these pieces in.

But I still have all those little painting things sitting on the table, plus two partially finished paintings, not large, 11″ x 14″. I have a feeling I will be working on these first. If for no other reason to clear the table!

AD 10-24 #101

Friday, October 26 – Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve been reflecting on the directions I want to go in my artwork. It is time for change in my art, as there have been many changes in my life, especially in the last three or four months. A cycle is ending and a new one beginning, I feel.


It is all good, don’t get me wrong. I am ready to do some things differently. One decision I’ve made is to stop doing artwork for selling. I am not stopping doing art, and I’m not stopping shows – I’m stopping doing artwork specifically for sale. It’s a matter of how I frame things in my mind as well as the kind of work I do. It’s a form of retirement, I think – but I see it as freeing me to do some things (some of which I haven’t even imagined yet) that I might have restricted myself from in the past.


AD 7-21 #207

I hope to spend time on new pursuits out in the world which I think will enhance my art explorations, and I want to do more writing/illustration projects. I have lots to look forward to, I think.

Now for this Diary. I created it to encourage myself to a more disciplined approach to making art – I needed to do a lot of work for my exhibit this summer and to catch up on making clay work. Both of these goals have been met. The Diary’s purpose has fulfilled itself, and so this will be the last edition of the Art Diary with its weekly round up.

You will be able to keep up with my doings, I feel, with my art posts, as always – I will keep you up to date with my projects, images, paintings, clay figurines, shows…you name it, just as I have always been doing.

I have enjoyed chronicling my work in this weekly Diary, but I no longer need or want to do so in this way. It’s important to know when things have served their purpose, I think, and when to move on. Thank all of you for reading it and for all your support and comments.

OK, that’s it! Thank you for coming along with me.

Insider Art Show and Sale – Sunday, October 21

This Sunday I will be at the Bloomfield Farm Day/Insider Art Show & Sale at the Morris Arboretum. Hours are noon to 4 PM.

It will be held at the Bloomfield Farm section of the site and admission is free (if you want to visit the Arboretum across the street, you will still need to pay).

I’m taking clay work – a table’s worth or so. Tiles and sculptures both. This show marks the end of the outdoor 2018 season for me, and it’s a nice way to do so. Last year’s event featured a lot of wonderful art and crafts, music, food…and there were farm animals and tours of the grounds and mill (or you could just wander around yourself!)

For more information, look here: Bloomfield Farm Day/Insider Art Show & Sale, 100 E Northwestern Ave, Philadelphia, PA.


Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending October 12


Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Art . Art plus. Art extra. More Art!

Saturday, October 6 – I gave all the clay items their undercoat of black, in preparation for becoming colorful. There is something appealing about them in this stage, though – very neat and classic look, black is, isn’t it?

I colored some 4″ x 4″ commercially made terracotta tiles in preparation for – something…

AD 10-6 #103

Let me catch you up to date on my listening habits right now. I always have music or an audio book going when I am working. I can have an art stream of thought and listen to a book or music at the same time. I cannot talk and do art, though. Interesting.

I’m reading –

AD 10-6 #402

and listening –

AD 10-6 #501

Sunday, October 7 – This day looks like yesterday, only with more color…

Monday, October 8 – I meant to do some work on tiles but instead I had some more quality time with this painting. When you don’t know where you are going and you aren’t too picky about it, either, well, a painting can become a whole lot of things along the way to its finish.

And a couple of details.

Wednesday, October 10 – That painting again. I’m deciding to be finished with it. I feel the people in it are begging me to stop bothering them.

AD 10-10 #201

I packed these tiles away in their boxes in the basement, awaiting a show. Since I work on them in the basement and the kiln is up in the garage, I transport items around in a variety of containers – these old baking sheets are very useful.

AD 10-10 #102

Thursday, October 11 – Last night I did some sofa art – cut out some figures and so on, and worked on a page in my current Large Artist Sketchbook.

AD 10-11 #708

This morning, I had a block of time – usually I like to exercise in the morning, but today I have a doctor’s appointment at noon and could not make the schedule work out. So I spent it doing some art. First, I got the box I keep the (growing number of) odds and ends and arranged it.

AD 10-11 #609

I wanted to get things in more order so that I could do some sofa art and then, when it gets to that stage, I’ll be ready with a lot of postcards and ATC’s to finish up in the studio. I’m sure you see some familiar things from earlier Diary entries.

I had unwrapped this set of 24 5″ x 7″ canvas boards I had bought – they are the cheapest possible grouping, 24 for about $10. Today I looked them over, anticipating…
AD 10-11 #404

I plan to paint them with acrylics and then draw over them with a pen, sort of how I did with these items you saw not long ago:

You may remember that they were originally paintings, giveaway items that did not get given away – so I gave them another life. I loved doing it and I wanted to do more, so – the next step is to paint these little canvases I have with colorful backgrounds.

After I did this organizing I went to the basement to do some more color work on my clay items:

After my appointment I came home and finished them up. Now they are ready for firing.

AD 10-11 #510

Friday, October 12 – I loaded up the kiln, on a whim, and got that firing done. It took little time because I put so little into the kiln – I just wanted to get the things done that you see on the table from yesterday. No photos. Just imagine the kiln and the really really hot and the clay turning colorful.

I returned to my Minuscule project – I have gotten the whole book’s text all set up and now I want to get the illustrations done. I am using India ink and a Chines brush. I often do three-four-five versions of the same illustration.

AD 10-12 #203

I do this because I do better work when I have free confident strokes of the pen or brush, and that never happens if I pencil something in and then follow it. I know it may sound like a lot of extra effort, but – I enjoy it, I’m not in a hurry, and ink and paper are cheap, at least my versions are! Sometimes I will rehearse a composition (I have a separate notebook for that purpose) and then, darn it, the rehearsal is better than the real performance.

AD 10-12 #104

Well, that’s fine – since these pictures are getting scanned, it doesn’t matter what the original is like, exactly. And then sometimes, I get the picture right on the first try.

AD 10-12 #302

Sometimes I feel as if the inspiration is coming in on some radio waves or the like, and maybe the signal is stronger at times and staticky at others. Well, let’s just say it’s all a mystery, right?

OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.