How to Make a Clay Nose

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Things You'll Need

  • Clay
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Newspaper
  • Metal wire or wire pottery tools

Faces are a popular subject matter for sculpture. Whether realistic or abstract, hundreds of artists have sculpted famous faces from ancient ceramic Buddha heads to the more modern "Head of a Woman" by Picasso. An important aspect of any head sculpture is the nose. The size and shape of the nose can drastically change the look of your sculpture.

Lay down newspaper on your workspace. Cut a pyramid shape of clay using a piece of wire about 1/2 inch larger on each side than you want the finished nose. Wet the clay on all sides with a sponge and a little water. You want the clay to be moldable but not soaking wet.

Bend and scrape the nose into the shape you want. It may be helpful to draw the nose before you begin working with the clay. Continue to wet the clay slightly if it begins to dry.

Add two smaller balls of clay to the bottom of the nose for the nostrils. Using the raw edge of the wire, scrape the clay on the sides of the nose where the nostrils will go and the sides of the nostril balls. This process is called scoring the clay. Place a little dob of clay "slip," or water mixed with clay into a paste on the scored areas. Attach the nostril balls to the nose.

Blend the nostril balls into the nose and soften the edges where they are attached. Shape the nostrils. Bend the wire to make a scraping tool or use a pottery scraping tool to dig into the nostrils to make the nostril holes. Do not make the holes go all the way through or it will weaken the place where the nostrils are attached to the nose. Smooth out the holes with your finger and the sponge.

Turn the nose around and hollow out a little bit of the nose so it can be fired easily. If the clay is too thick or too thin the pottery can break during the firing process. Leave about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch around the entire nose. Score the raw edge of the nose and apply slip. Score the area on the clay head and attach the nose. Smooth the two pieces into each other.


About the Author

Catherine Paitsel is a professional writer pursuing her master's degree in international affairs at The New School. Paitsel graduated magna cum laude from Pace University with a bachelor's degree in political science. She studied fashion design at the Pratt Institute and is also a licensed New York real-estate salesperson. Her interests are investing, sociology, entrepreneurship, design and enjoying New York City.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images