Philippe prefers to use a low-fire (fires to cone 06), white earthenware (water-based) clay without grog. Clays are manufactured locally so one purchased in California will be different from one in New York. Ceramic supply shops are the best source for this type of clay. A few that Philippe has personally used and finds closest to the texture he prefers are:
Miller #10Laguna EM100 (available in the Northeast).
Laguna EM700 (available in the Southeast).
Laguna EM210 (available in the West).
Standard 105NTSmooth Sculpture (available from Clay Planet in California).
Laguna has distributors both in the US and internationally. Look for them here: Laguna Clay Distributors
That depends. Many of Philippe’s sculptures are left to dry and are not fired. They can last for years, however they are somewhat fragile and should not be exposed to the elements. If a piece is to be saved, it should be hollowed and fired in a ceramic kiln per the manufacture’s directions. Some ceramic shops and colleges offer this service. After it can be left natural or a patina can be added.
The direct translation for terra cotta is “fired earth”. It typically refers to earthenware pieces that have been left unglazed and is also commonly used to describe an earthenware color of brownish-red.
Sometimes. When he does, Philippe primarily uses Briwax.
Yes and no. Many of the techniques (including the steps for building the overall structure and individual features) can be duplicated in other types of clay such as oil-based. However, Philippe prefers water-based clays primarily for their ranges of consistency during the sculpting process. Moist clay straight from the bag can easily be manipulated during the rapid build up of volumes. As the work progresses and the clay becomes harder, finer details are easier to achieve all the way to the texture when the clay is almost dry. Furthermore, the piece can be sanded to achieve a very slick appearance (a dust mask must be worn when working with dry clay).
Water-based clay projects can get moldy smelling if kept damp under plastic. To avoid this inconvenience, put 4-5 drops of bleach in a spray bottle with water and spritz the clay before wrapping it at the end of the modeling session.
Clay that has been left in a studio where the temperature drops below freezing will be much harder to use, but is not necessarily ruined, though the consistency will be different. It can be re-kneaded, but as a general rule it is better not to let it freeze in the first place.
Hairline cracks will sometimes appear as a water-based clay sculpture dries. To prevent this it is best to allow the piece to stabilize under a loose plastic bag for several weeks after the sculpture has been hollowed. If cracks do appear the piece should be fired as is and the cracks repaired with acrylic putty before a patina is applied.
Yes, Philippe offers classes on the portrait, full figure and animal sculpting. The current schedule is posted on our site. He teaches at our upstate New York studio as well at private studios and colleges around the US and in France.
Though he is not traveling as often, inquiries to have him come to a specific college, museum or art center can still be made by contacting us.
Yes. Philippe’s students range from beginners to professional artists in a wide range of fields. The set-up of the seminars is such that though there is a definite structure to each day’s activities, students receive individual attention geared toward their specific questions and skill levels.
Yes. In our experience we have found that students who have worked with Philippe's books or DVDs prior to class do get a bit more out of the experience. It is also helpful to become familiar with some basic anatomical terms, as Philippe will be using these during the class.
Yes. Students are welcome to keep any sculptures that they do during the seminar; however, the studio does not provide firing or shipping services.
No. Unfortunately, the drying and firing time required do not permit Mr. Faraut to offer this service.
The use of armatures during the figure classes will not be necessary since the goal is to obtain pieces that can eventually be fired if it is the student’s wish. Mr. Faraut will discuss several different types of armatures that can be used when the work requires it (based on size, gesture, medium and desired end result).