Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Cheekbone Staple

by Michela Mansuino
Level Three Student

The Cheekbone Staple is the next step in building the planar head. We set up a skull so that it has a vertical face, like the one pictured. Instructor Dan Thompson has us work with the skull directly in front of us so that we can rely on it for measurements and further aesthetic comparisons.

We roll out clay into thin slabs the size of a napkin and cut these into 1 by 5-inch strips. You can see these on top of Dan's skull in the photo below. Dan used toothpicks to pin strips to the side of the clay head to make the cheekbone blocks. We used additional clay strips in front to connect sides. The tiny block below the jaw stands for the mastoid process.

It is important that the cheekbone "strips" start to emerge around the auditory meatus which is one of two passages in the ear.

The cheekbone is the widest part of the face, to get the widest point we must cut and rotate the side strips.

Dan created a drawing on the board as a diagram to illustrate how these side strips get cut into two parts and then are rotated.One portion of these two blocks is catches more light and pitches upward. That is the part toward the front of the face.

After we had our "blocks" in place, we attached them  permanently and removed the toothpicks. Then, we thinned them down and modeled them in.

Here, I've pinned the strips to the sides of my planar clay head.

Below is a side view with the mastoid process also pinned down under the cheekbone, lining up just behind the location of the auditory meatus. Dan joined the two strips this way, where the cheekbone dives into the auditory meatus.

Here is a view of the front plane of the cheekbone staple in place and modeled into the planar clay head.

Here is a side view.

A back view, including the beginning of the mastoid process.

The zygomatic arch, or cheekbone, lines up with the helix of the ear, it is an astonishing relationship, according to Dan. We see it clearly in Bernini's terracotta head of "St. Jerome."

The next steps in building the planar head are the ear, nose and mouth.

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