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Hi everyone

 

I am making a series of ceramic birds in paperclay. Everything goes just fine till I reach the legs... I don't particularly want to make legs out of paperclay - for example, maybe using nichrome wire with clay over it - I think this would begin to look labored and unbirdlike.

 

So what I want to do instead is to be able to mount the fired clay birds on one, or two, metal rods, and anchor these metal rods into a small plinth of wood or clay. I've searched sculptors' sites and metal suppliers, but I still can't find out what metal to use, how to cut it, and how to attach it securely to the bird.

 

Another alternative would be metal legs with feet - not realistic ones, as the birds themselves are as much about the clay as they are about the bird. But again, I don't know how to go about this, or how to find someone who might be able to make these for me. 

 

Has anyone else faced this technical issue, and have they managed to resolve it?

 

Many thanks

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How large are the birds? What size rod or wire you use for the legs will depend on how much they have to support.

I suspect that you will have to have some of the rod handy when you sculpt the birds, because you want them to balance standing up.

If they are small, stiff wire, like hangar wire will work, you cut it with a pair of tin snips, available at any hardware store. For larger pieces go to the hardware store and browse in the solid rod selection. There will brass, copper, stainless, aluminum and steel to choose from. Most aren't very expensive, so you can experiment. Heavier rod gets cut with a hacksaw. You might be able to use tubing, which is sometimes cheaper.

You probably won't be able to fire the legs with the bird itself, but will need to make the holes for the legs as you sculpt and be prepared to drill them out after firing.

Have fun!

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my friend, denise kupiszewski, makes birds that hang by a piece of fishing wire and have legs of wound wire in bright colors.  their feet are clay and the whole thing bounces on a spring.  they are about the size of a large pear.  she has also made standing birds using wire.  the legs are attached after firing.  she is the Mud Peddler.

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A lot depends on the size of your birds.  If you are doing life-size song birds, brazing/soldering rods will probably suffice, and you can make feet by soldering smaller pieces together.  Look at photos of birds to see how their legs (angle, position) extend from their bodies, and make holes in the clay to accomadate the wire.  I'd also look into craft stores and see if some clever person has made bird feet for sale.  Lots of woodcarvers and potters make birds, so maybe someone has anticipated the need.

 

Shirley

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Thanks for all your replies. I've been busy making bowls and forgot that I'd posted this. The birds are all pretty much lifesize or maybe a little larger. The tubing idea is interesting, I might be able to run wires through it which could then separate into the individual toes. Either way, I'll post the results when they're done and you can see what you think!

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For some charming pieces using wire with clay go to www.Claybair.com and click on "sculptures" where she has some pieces with both arms and legs made from wire..  I bought one of Gayle's early pieces using this approach and love it.  She is a very nice person and would probably be happy to provide helpful hints if you contacted her.

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