Aug 27, 2012

Nativity - Camel

Oh, it's about time.  I'm sure that's what you are thinking, actually, I'm thinking that too.

So, without further ado, I give you the next tutorial in our 12 part Nativity - the Camel.

Now, I have to admit, I've been dragging my feet on this one, he's kind of hard - at least for me.  And, as you will see in the photos below, every time I make one, it comes out different.  Which, I guess is kind of cool, in a way.  No two are ever the same!

So, what do you need?
Clay:  Tan and Black
Tin foil
Wax paper (to cover your work surface)
Toothpick or metal stylus

Step 1:  Start by shaping all your tin foil pieces.  You will need four legs, they should look like the letter "L". a body piece, a neck, and a head.  

Sizing Tip:  Obviously, I didn't make my camel to scale.  If I did, he'd be a lot bigger.  However, I did want him to be taller than my wise man so as I was shaping my tin foil, I just held a leg up to the body to make sure it would be the right height.  When the body sits on top of the legs, you want the highest point, the hump, to be above the wise man's shoulders. 

Step 2:  Cover all four of your legs with conditioned tan clay.  If you are new to clay, be sure to check out the tips here:  Tutorial 1 and Clay Tips  To condition it, you just need to mush the clay together, kneading it together until it is soft and workable.  Then, break off some clay pieces and wrap them around the tin foil L's.  You will have a seam, just push the clay together at the seam and smooth it out until the seam disappears.

Step 3:  Next, after all four legs are covered in clay, cover the body and smooth out the clay.

Step 4:  Attach the legs and the body together.  To do this, first press the two back legs together so that they are hooked together.  Then, do the same to the two front legs.  Once both sets of legs are secured, press the body on top of all four legs.  To hide the seam where they meet, just push the clay over it and smooth it out.

Tip:  At this point in the creation process, be sure that your Camel can stand on it's own.  You want it to be sturdy and flat so that it won't wobble or tip.  

Step 5:  Follow the same process for the neck, just cover the piece of tin foil, smooth out the seam and then attach it to the body like shown.  Again, smooth out any seams.

Step 6:  Next, it's time for the head.  As you are covering your tin foil, push some of the clay towards the bottom.  Camels have big noses so you want one portion of the shape to be larger and more rounder than the rest.

Step 7:  Take a small piece of clay and roll it into a small rope, then attach it to the bottom of the more rounded part of the head.  This becomes the lip - camels have kind of a pouty bottom lip - which is actually kind of cute

Step 8:  After the lip is in place, carefully attach the head to the top of the neck.  Smooth the clay out around the seam and make sure that your head is not too big or too heavy.  If it is, take it off and recreate it to fit your needs.

Step 9:  After the lip is in place, take your tooth pick or sharp stylus and draw on some small lines to define the nose.  Camels nostrils are long slits, and then they have a line that comes down to the lip.  

Tip:  When you are adding details to the face, you might want to refer to some pictures of real camels to get the details correct.

Step 10:  Add on two ears, camels ears are pretty small.  I may have made mine in this photo a little too big, but that's ok, it adds character.  Also, add in two slits for the eyes like shown.  As you are making those slits, gently push the clay upwards.  This will create an opening for you to add an eye.

Step 11:  Taking just a tiny, tiny bit of the black clay, roll out two tiny black balls. Place the black balls in the slits you made for the eyes.  Then gently press the tan clay down from the top of the eye so it makes an eyelid. 

Step 12:  After the eyes are in place turn your little guy around and add on a tail.

Step 13:  Just go back over him and smooth out any creases, seams, bumps or finger prints that might be left behind.  

Step 14:  And then finally, bake your camel in a pre-heated, 275 degree oven for about 18 minutes.

If you feel so inclined, you could always add other details.  One of the first camels I ever made (shown above)  I put on an orange blanket over his hump and I rolled out brown clay to make a bridle.

And, just because we are talking camels in today's post - wanna hear a funny joke?  My dad told me this one.

There was a very handsome male camel who had TWO humps.  He feel madly in love with a female camel who had only ONE hump.  They married and had an adorable baby camel that had NO humps.  Do you know what they named him?  Humphrey (hump-free)


And on that note, hope you all have a good night, until next time.....