Saturday, March 31, 2012

Maori Hei-Tiki

Just a little bit of background on what I'm doing.
The Maori Tiki that I'm creating in class is very important to the New Zealand culture that it's from. It's... I would guess the equivalence (as far as importance)... of us at our 18th or 21st birthday. Except, to the Maori, it's a coming of age type of deal. It's extremely important to their culture. It signifies childhood and fertility, along with strength of character and individualism.

I started out with a block of clay I would guess about a half inch thick, and then just start carving out and shaping it to look like this picture above.  This is actually my friend from New Zealand. It's her personal hei-tiki.  Anywho. I started out by carving the holes where the arms and legs are, and shaping the clay with a needle tool and exacto blade to fit the curvature of the actual piece. At this point, the picture to the left is what it looked like. I felt like the arms and legs were the hardest part, and after I had those done, it was simple to finish the rest of the piece, or so I'd thought. Where the line is around the mouth area, I had carved out to make a negative space and put a raised platform of clay around it to make it look like "lips" and then I just carved out the eyes by carving a circle.

I'm having trouble positioning the pictures so please just bear with me. Then I had realized I needed to create a bail from which the hemp necklace I'm making could hold the piece. I tried just attaching a long, flattened out strip to the front and bending it to the back, but it would've been too fragile, so I had to create a ring out of clay before I attached it to the top of the tiki. I don't have a finished picture yet, because it hasn't been fired, but I will after break! :)

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