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Pagan Art
& Artists

[Dedicated to
Serge Clapa]


 Author: Patrick T. Ryan    Posted: Feb. 28, 2004   This Page Viewed: 10,762  

Statue Making - Part I
by Patrick T. Ryan

Back row from left; Frigga, Snotra, Ullr, Thor. Third from back row; Disir, Freya, Sunna.
Second from back row; Hella, Odin, Njord, Tyr. Front row; Freyr, Jord/Erd.

Yes, you too can make your own deity statues and figurines. The above photo shows the whole gang that I have, so far.

Shortly after I started 'pon the Northern Path, my mind turned to images. Just as I have, you've probably poked around on the Web and in stores. There isn't much in the way of variety out there for those on the Northern Path. Plus, each image is about $35-$45. So hokey-smoke! That's a chunkola of change to get all the major players, right?! Damn straight! You hit that puck in the goal! Plus, there aren't a lot of deities who are represented from ancient times. I've never seen a figurine for Snotra, one of Frigga's maidens, to the right. For that matter, I don't recall seeing anything for Njord or Ullr, among others. So make my own, I thought. I've had bouts of painting and drawing in the past, but never did I make anything in the round. So I practiced on some animal spirits before making Jord/Erd, my first deity statue. I like 'em. I made them myself. I was able to incorporate ideas and motifs that those commercially available images don't have, and I had fun and fulfillment. Plus, the materials needed cost a fraction of what the commercial images cost.

But what's that, you say? You don't have any artistic ability? You have a hard time drawing to conclusions as it is, let alone drawing or sculpting art? Oh yeah? Do you honestly think that those people selling their artwork for thousands at a pop have any innate ability? Well yes, you probably do. You've been to an art gallery, and even if you don't like what's hanging there, those people must have a certain something? Well, here comes super cynic to the rescue... There are VERY few true prodigies in this world. How do those professional artists do it? If they were to be honest and open about it, they would all say to a person that they focused and practiced. A lot. They cultured and cultivated a talent. So that's the BIG SCARY secret to good art; just do it and do it a lot. Hardly anyone "has it" from the get-go.

But no, no. You don't have to practice a lot. After all, are you going to make a statue that will sell for thousands, or will be displayed in a gallery? No. That's one problem with our culture. We tend to regard art from a very black and white perspective, aside from the "you have it or you don't have it" bull. It's only art and worthwhile if it can sell for loads of money and can be displayed for a bunch of inner-city snoot-nosed types to cluck over in a gallery.

What you make will be for your personal enjoyment, and possibly for your group, coven, circle, stead, family, tribe, cabal o' screwlooses, whatever. So go easy on yourself. And if you make something that's more out of the Cthulhu Mythos then out of the Poetic Edda, just chalk it up to experience and learning. Yes, that's right; learning. Learning is good. Repeat it. Good.

NO!!!! Do not use regular clay! Do you know how hard it can be to get your amateur effort into a kiln? And even if you could, the chance is the piece that you've spent so long on will completely explode due to trapped air. Know how much fuel those kilns use? Know how much in the way of precious resources those kilns use up? A lot. What? Just let it dry and never mind about firing it? Yaah. And your statue will crumble if you look at it cross-eyed.

Carve something in wood or stone? Sure, if you have access to the proper tools and shop. Just remember, if you screw it up, it stays screwed up. You can't take it and render it back into a shapeless mass to try again. Carving in wood or stone has no rewind button.

Use one of those oven-cured clays or synthetic clays. Just be sure and read what the box says. Some of these products recommend that you remove armatures and support wiring before curing, else the object can crack. I use a synthetic polymer clay-like stuff, Sculpey Clay. It stays soft until curing, it doesn't have to be kept wet, it doesn't have to spend days drying, and the support wiring can be kept inside. The oven only needs to be set to 275 degrees, and I don't need to leave it in all that long, so there's very little energy waste.

This little article is not meant, by any means, to be a handbook for figurine making. I have confidence that you can find your way, if you just start doing it. You want a few pointers? Sure, I'll do that.

(Continued... Click HERE for Part II)

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