The sculpture in this demo is called "The Snarl". It shows a fisherman on a wharf, holding a tangle of lobster trap lines ( locally called a snarl ) with a none-too-happy expression on his face. Buoys and a "folk art" seagull complete the scene.
Small figures can be made solid but larger ones should be hollow to reduce the risk of moisture being trapped in the clay and exploding in the kiln.
There are several ways to accomplish the hollow figure.
This instructable is on a method I like to use.
The sculpt is based on a figure that would be 12 inches tall if he were standing erect.
Step 1: The wood armature
I begin with a wood armature.
I work out the size of each successive body part for the height I would like to have. The proportions are usually based on my own measurements. Small dowels or sticks can then be cut and glued together with hot glue or any other type of glue.
I strengthen the joints with masking tape.
So ... the shin bone connects to the leg bone, the leg bone connects to the hip bone ... and so on.
And I have a stick man.
Step 2: Support for the stick man
The figure needs to be supported and the support removed after the clay has dried enough to support its own weight.
I accomplish this by ...
1) cut the head off a wood or drywall screw
2) drill a hole in the end of a dowel or piece of wood
3) embed the screw into the dowel and fix it there with epoxy glue
This stick with a a screw on the end can be screwed into a small hole that is drilled in the torso of the stick man.
The other end of the wood dowel can be attached to an upright frame for supporting the figure.