Thoughts about Clay

This weekend is Animate the World again at the Barbican Centre. I’m going to be leading workshops in clay, the handling and modelling of which doesn’t come naturally to me, so I’ve been working hard to get to grips with it.
Below is ‘Fun in a Bakery Shop’, the first clay animation, made by Edwin S. Porter in 1902.

I’ve been looking at Mio Mao by Francesco Misseri which was first made in 1979 and has been revivied and continued by the Misseri Studios, it can be seen on Milkshake on Channel 5 and Youtube. I hadn’t realised that Misseri also worked in paper (QuaqQuao) and sand (A.E.I.O.U) with similarly elegant results. The work is extraordinarily skilled and of course looks effortless, never becoming crumpled and jaded. This is not something that can be said about my work(!) but I can very much relate to his fluid approach to the animation which has the feel of a recording of an encounter between person and the material with nothing else remaining.

I also came across The Amazing Mr Bickford, a video for Frank Zappa by Bruce Bickford in 1987. I managed to see an excerpt and pretty amazing it looks too. I’d very much like to see more and I’ll hunt around for a DVD of it. I’d like to lean towards showing films using metamorphosis, to try and provide a tiny counterpoint to the Wallace and Gromit effect.

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