morning star sun sculpture paperclay and recycled

Making the Morning Star sun sculpture with paperclay and recycled materials

You may have noticed by now my interest in stars, moons and suns. After doing a few moon sculptures, I decided it was time to make a sun wall sculpture.

So I dug through my stash of odds and ends and pulled out a few pieces that inspired me. This silver tray came from a thrift store and I thought it would look good to frame the sun sculpture.

recycled silver tray front

Tray front

recycled silver tray back

Tray back

And I thought these plastic stakes would make interesting sun rays, along with free paint sticks from the hardware store.

recycled plastic stakes

Recycled plastic stakes

recycled paint sticks

Recycled paint sticks cut into 4 pieces

Making a sculpture starts with a sketch

Having decided on that, I began to sketch a face. This time I wanted to use my grandfather as inspiration.

He was my paternal grandfather who died when I was a child. He was an Armenian immigrant.

I remember going to visit my grandparents and he was usually sitting in his chair, wearing a vest and smoking his pipe. I loved the smell of his cherry tobacco. He seemed like a very gentle soul to me.

Somehow I only ended up with a couple of his pictures, but I did the best I could with the sketch.

My Armenian grandfather after coming to America

old grandfather

Grandpa as I remember him. My aunt’s photo wall.

And here’s the sketch.

sun face sketch

Sketch done on white paper

Then I transferred it onto wax paper. I use this as an overlay for accuracy while I’m sculpting.

sun face sketch

Sketch done on wax paper

Building the base of the sculpture

I always use layers of cardboard glued together with hot glue and Aleene’s tacky glue for the base. This saves on paperclay.

Cardboard used as base for sculpture

Cardboard used as base for sculpture

Cardboard base inside metal tray

Cardboard base inside metal tray

After that I carved out sections for the features. I have to admit, this looks a little creepy.

Features carved out on cardboard base

Features carved out on cardboard base

Sculpting the sun face with paperclay

Now it’s time for me to play. I just add bits of paperclay here and there. At times I need to allow the clay to dry somewhat before continuing.

Here are some photos showing the progression.

sun sculpture in progress

sun sculpture in progress

sun sculpture in progress

sun sculpture in progress

sun sculpture in progress

Painting and embellishing the pieces

I always like to put a dark wash on the clay to emphasize the texture.

Sun sculpture with black wash

Sun sculpture with black wash

Then I dab on layers of white paint. I highlight and define the features with acrylic paint in black, light blue, metallic gold and metallic silver. The face was accented with a variety of glitters and then varnished.

Sun sculpture with paint and glitter

Sun sculpture with paint and glitter

The plastic rays were painted metallic gold and covered with a glitter coating.

The paint sticks, after being cut and shaped, were painted light blue and metallic silver. The blue ones were accented with blue glitter and the silver ones with a strip of silver sequins.

Paint stick sunrays before painting

Paint stick sunrays before painting

Here’s a picture of the rays after painting.

Sun rays with paint and glitter

Sun rays with paint and glitter

The silver metallic starbursts shown in the photo above were made from vitamin packets. I love to save bits of mylar packaging.

Mylar vitamin packets turned into sunrays

Mylar vitamin packets turned into sunrays

Assembling the sun sculpture

I cut out a piece of cardboard for the backing and painted it black. Then I glued and wired everything together to make it very secure.

unassembled pieces before painting was finished

Unassembled pieces before painting was finished

The final Morning Star sun wall sculpture from recycled materials

And here he is…my beautiful Morning Star sun sculpture, now in my Etsy shop.

The Morning Star sun sculpture

The Morning Star sun sculpture

Morning Star sun sculpture in my bedroom

Morning Star sun sculpture in my bedroom

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