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Bas-relief, the sculpture technique of creating the illusion of depth by carving your subject slightly higher than its flat background, is very ancient… and very fun to do. A cool, leather-hard clay slab has the pleasing consistency of a chocolate bar. The tools bite into the surface easily. My happiest days in the studio are the ones that offer a whole day of uninterrupted carving:

I’m excited about sharing a little bas-relief fun during a workshop being offered at Space 301, Centre for the Living Arts on Saturday, July 10.  We’ll be up in the clerestory, a spacious and airy studio space created in the former pressroom of the Mobile Press-Register. When the newspaper moved out of its cavernous old production facility, the building underwent an impressive transformation into ground-floor galleries and upper-level teaching studios.

We’ll be using white stoneware, which is a treat to carve: silky-smooth to the touch, and it fires out to a lovely bone color. Each participant will prepare and carve a square foot of tile — made up of a combination of smaller individual tiles — using tools and materials that are theirs to keep. (They’ll need those tools later, since carving tends to be a bit addictive…)

Tomorrow is the final day to sign up for the bas-relief carving workshop. If you happen to be in the coastal Alabama/Florida/Mississippi area and need more information, email me or call Cindy Phillips at Space 301 before 5pm Friday. Cindy’s number is 251-208-5677. See you there!

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