Sculpting the pregnant figure

This is my first time sculpting the figure - let alone a pregnant one! To begin with, I kept the structure very free and loose - this is my favourite stage, it has a melting-wax type movement that was lost with further work.

I chose a fairly smooth white clay which will fire to a buff colour. I also decided to work on a fairly small scale, simply because I don't have storage for large work. Everyone has a tendency to impose familiar forms onto their sculpture, I for example am fairly short, therefore tend to produce short figures.

Between sessions, the head of the figure broke off, so with the help of my tutor Sheila Vollmer, we reattached it with a straight piece of wire through the middle and more clay. We also decided to add height to the figure by using a wire to cut it in half, and adding a cross section of clay secured with scoring and slip.

The next session allowed me to observe the model more closely, and increase the size of the bump - which of course had expanded since the first session! As always, drawing helps me focus. Using elbows, knees and shoulders as landmarks and making sure they are emphasised can help give your sculpture structure.

Looking at your work from a different angle can help you see changes that need to be made, you can look up at it from below or put in onto a stool and look down onto it. This will also help you see the form as a whole. For example, doing this helped me see that whilst my model's feet were in a symmetrical position, mine were pointing in another direction.

Due to tube strikes I missed the final session with this model - I believe she may have even given birth by now! So the feet will remain unfinished, and all that remains is hollowing, firing and patinating.