Jul 23, 2012

Nativity Tutorial - June & July, The Shepherd



I know, this is pretty amazing.  Not so much my handi-work or craft but the fact that I'm posting a new tutorial.  It's been awhile.  First though, because it's been so long, if you need a refresher on clay tips, basics, etc... be sure to visit the first post in the series, it's here:  Nativity Tutorial:  Wiseman 1

Also, in our 12 piece set, there are two shepherds.  On this tutorial I'm just showing you the steps for one however, at the end of the post is a picture of  an older set I did that will give you ideas on how to customize your second shepherd.  You construct the body all the same, the differences are just in the clothes/clay colors.  


Ok, are you ready - let's start!


Step 1:  Gather your clay.  You will need Pearl, Beige, Tan, Chocolate & Suede Brown.


Step 2:  Using tinfoil, shape a base for the body and a small ball for the head. 


Step 3:  Take your tan clay and condition it.  (Conditioning just means you are going to play with it, smash it, squish it, knead it, until it's easy to work with and soft.)   Flatten out a piece like shown above and wrap it around your tinfoil body form. 


Step 4:  Once the clay is fully wrapped around the tinfoil, flatten out the bottom so the piece can stand on it's own.  Also smooth out the clay and try and erase any finger prints, dents, etc...


Step 5:  Break off a small amount of tan clay and shape two little arms.  They should look similar to the photo above.


Step 6:  Attach the arms by gently pressing them into the clay on the body.


Step 7:  Set aside the body for a minute and condition a small amount of the chocolate clay.  


Step 8:  Flatten the clay out in a long rectangle like shown, make it as even and as smooth as possible. (mine was kind of bumpy so don't look too close).  


Step 9:  Using a sharp tool or knife, cut out a small triangle in the center of the piece and then cut a line down the center as shown.


Step 10:  Next, add the clay piece to the top of your body.  You will need to gently move the arms out and then put them back in place over the chocolate clay.  You now have a robe on your shepherd.  

*** - You can make your robe a smooth piece like the one on the left or add texture by adding bumps and waves like the one on the right.  I kind of like both so you can decide which one you want to do.


Step 11:  Next we will work on the head.  Condition and flatten out a piece of Beige clay and place the tinfoil ball in the center.


Step 12:  Wrap the clay around the tinfoil and smooth out.  Place the ball on top of the triangle opening you cut on the robe.   Press the head slightly so it attaches to the other clay.  Be careful not to press to hard or you will misshape the head.

Step 13:  (not shown) roll small beige balls and attach to the arms for the hands and nose.


Step 14:  Next, take out the Pearl clay, condition it and flatten into a small oval.  Attach it to the piece by draping it over the head and shape as needed to make a head covering.  (I didn't show a photo of this but there is one on a past tutorial.  Check out the Wisemen tutorials if you need more information on this)


Step 15:  Take a small piece of Suede Brown clay (smaller than what is shown) and condition it.


Step 16:  Roll it into a long snake like shape.


Step 17:  Carefully lift one arm and place the clay snake under the arm.  Bend the top part over and shape it  to look like the hook of a shepherds cane.


Step 18:  Roll out another snake like piece, thinner than what you did with the cane, and wrap around the head piece.

Step 19:  (not shown) Add two little eyes and draw on your mouth.  

Step 20:  Now your guy is ready to go in the oven.  Bake him for 15-18 minutes in a preheated 275 degree oven.  And, that's it, you are done!


So, as mentioned at the beginning of the post, here's a picture from a previous set I made.  These guys are close to what I just showed but the taller shepherd is wearing a full robe, it doesn't have a cut down the middle.  Also, the colors of the second guy are different.  You can use any colors you want just remember that you are making shepherds and they were humble, work-the-earth people.  I recommend using colors that go with their character; browns, muted greens, etc...

2 comments:

Beth Dancy said...

I haven't played with clay in years! My bad! You make it look so easy! I am inspired! I just might have to make a set!!

Rachel Shirley said...

I just want to say a huge thank-you for these tutorials, and for taking the time to give a detailed how-to. I have been doing clay for about two years, and have always wondered how to make my 'figurines' bigger without using more clay, and I never really understood it until now, I have completed all the wise-men, sheep and a couple shepherds already. Keep up the awesome work! =)