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A Little About Materials: Plastilina

The clay that I use in the studio is not the same as the water-based clay that most people encounter in a ceramics studio. You’ve likely heard the terms ball clay, porcelain, or terracotta. The clay that I use is an oil-based clay and cannot be placed in a kiln. It’s made from dehydrated ball clay, oil and wax. When it gets hot, it melts. The benefit of this clay, called Plastilina or Plasticine, is that it never hardens completely, nor does it dry out.

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Installing Marble Sculptures, Part II

Sure, I designed the sculpture and sculpted it, but without the help of several models, the mold-maker and enlarger, Malcolm the stone-carver and his crew, and Andrew and the crew at Canal Street Studios, and not to mention the generous donor who has been gracious enough to give such a lasting gift to the church- none of this would have happened.

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Installing Marble Sculptures

How many people does it take to move a two-ton sculpture of the Blessed Virgin out of the studio, onto a truck, drive sixty-five miles down the road and into a niche in a church? We had quite a crew out there!

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part IV

For the people who visit Our Lady of Mercy, the sculptures point us to the Divine. The Stations of the Cross illustrate the Passion. They don’t merely retell an historical event but attempt to uncover some of the deeper spiritual truths. The Virgin Mary is celebrated as the mother of God but also as a woman whose act of faith changed the world. Her husband, St. Joseph, stands as a reminder to fathers and husbands of the important role that God has for them.

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part III

In my image, St. Joseph sits in his workshop with his carpenter’s angle in one hand dropping into his lap. A hammer and nails on the floor remind us of Christ’s passion. Joseph has just heard word from the angel in his dream about Jesus, and he stares into his hand, “Me, a father? The Son of God?!”

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part II

Most people imagine the artist caught up in fits of passion, creating, oblivious of the needs of daily life.  We picture the sculptor chipping away in a frenzy of artistic ecstasy. The most exciting part of creating art is indeed the conceptual phase at the beginning.

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part I

God gave me a vision of a sculpture that I had to make. I pulled out a pen and sketched out the image on an overturned piece of stationary. I drew an image of a woman, shown from the waist up. Her head and eyes turned dramatically to one side as her body twisted in the opposite direction. The visual effect was that of a spiral.

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Sculpture in the Courtyard

Join us at this wonderful art exhibition, presented by Thacher & Rye and Gaslight Gallery.

This unique event takes place in the Thacher & Rye courtyard.

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Claire McCardell in the Media


Thanks to designer Tory Burch, Claire McCardell’s name is on everyone’s lips! Tory Burch appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the re-release of Claire McCardell’s 1956 book, “What Shall I Wear?”

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