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Garden Reverie step 10

May 27th, 2013

Sculpting the seat cushion is next.  She’s almost finished!


The back of the chair and chair legs will be added by the foundry so I needed to add registration marks to show the metal worker where to attach.

On a side point, here is the braid all finished. Also, you can see how I’ve added some wire under her arm to figure where the chair touches her arm and her back. 





Her chair seat is now sculpted in clay and smooth.  Next, the texture is added. 


Registration marks are in place as seen above.  She is mounted on an oil base clay tube which will serve as a pour spout for the mold. 


Impressionistic floral pattern is barely discernible and is a contrast to the tight and smooth modeling of her skin and dress. 


Next is the final step before molding. Yay!  I will be sculpting her base, with the written note and  bouquet of flowers. 

Enjoy the completed sculpture at

Garden Reverie step 9

May 3rd, 2013

Sculpting flowers is something I really enjoy doing.  Adding one to my garden lady seemed like a great  thing to do.  At first I didn’t know how many flowers to add.  Should I have a variety of flowers or just one? Didn’t really want to cover the wavy curls in the front of her hair or cover her ear.  Played around with adding some clay petals to determine what mass I wanted in that area.  



Decided to do a big single flower (nothing too busy looking), one that had a romantic, lacy feel to it.  Because clay shrinks, the flower kept getting smaller, and so I had to add more to the edges in order to get it to be the right size. 


When making ceramic roses, I can have the petals very thin and dainty. But for bronze, I have to thicken the petals so that the flower will de-mold well.  Maintaining the dainty look can be tricky. I back fill behind the petals with clay, but kept the edges as thin as possible.  Below is the finished rose.


Next, I worked on getting her dress finished out with ribbon ties and bow.



Wavy hair, flower, and ribbon ties…. that oughta do it!  I love swirly, wavy anything!


If the neckline tie is too fine, the foundry workers might remove too much metal, and the tie would disappear.  I continued to add more clay until it was just thick enough.



In order to work on her bodice area, I had to remove the arm once again. 




Next I’ll work on her chair cushion. 

Thank you for your interest in following this sculpture to completion.

Take advantage of the pre-cast special on “Garden Reverie”and save $600 for a limited time.

Garden Reverie step 8

April 6th, 2013

Once again, refining her figure is what I’ll be showing today but this time for her legs.  Keeping in mind the shape of the bones, such as in the knee, is important.  There are many complex features to a knee.  Two large bones join there and then a knee cap and tendons, muscle and fat all play a part.  When a knee is bent, the knee cap gets pulled downwards.  Our bodies are so wonderfully made and learning the intricacies of it is an ongoing process.  I keep several anatomy books close on hand to refer to while sculpting.



Her rough toes need much work, and her foot needs to be narrowed, among other things.





Each leg is removed and sculpted in detail.




Above, you see her size in relation to my hand.  She’s going to be about 16 ½” or thereabouts, with her black granite base.




Her finished leg and foot is ready to be attached to her body once again.




The crossed leg is relaxed, with a bulging calf muscle due to pressure put upon it from the other leg.  This relaxed leg is contrasted with a leg in flex-ion, with a contracted calf muscle and flexed foot.   There is a dichotomy ever present with this lady; her relaxed, dreamy state is contrasted with her physical need to support her coquettish pose through tension of limbs.

Next, I’ll show the process of sculpting the flower in her hair.

Take advantage of the pre-cast special on “Garden Reverie”and save $600 for a limited time.

Garden Reverie step 7

March 28th, 2013

Today I want to show how this arm and hand was more difficult to sculpt than the other hand. Lining up her hand in the right position under her chin was part of the difficulty.
Here’s the rough sketch close-up photo to show how the hand first looked.


Positioning the pinky just right adds to the feminine flair. Between that and feminine fingernails, I’m a happy camper as far at the hands are concerned.   :-)


You can see the rough texture of the clay; the final pics show smooth skin. This was brought about, in part, by brushing some liquid slip on the surface (slip is made up with no-grog [grit] clay). Then I used various tools and techniques to further refine and smooth the skin. Because I want a polished smooth skin bronze sculpture, the more I can do in the clay process the better, and will save on foundry labor and costs.


Once again, I remove part of an arm and leave registration marks. The jagged edge looks a bit morbid, but the uneven edge actually helps with lining up the arm once I reattach it. I took the arm off and on many, many times before I had everything in place. And then…. I cut it off again (but in a different place) for the mold process.


Since this is waterbased clay, the hands will dry out quickly, so they have to be kept under plastic as often as possible to slow down the drying.



Her four fingers needed to touch right under her chin and the thumb had to touch at the right spot on the neck. This took a lot of coordinating and is difficult to do in waterbased clay where the fingers are delicate and can be broken off very easily. There are features to waterbased clay I love and these outweigh the hardships I encounter.


If her hand was too wide open, it looked like she was waving at you, which wasn’t the right effect. By taking photos to help me “see” better, I was able to get the right gesture for the hand. Comparing before and after photos is my number one tool for judging improvements. Every day I took pics at the end (many times during working as well) and in the morning, while having breakfast, I reviewed those photos, comparing and observing what I liked and what I wanted to work on. Many times I’d go into Photoshop and make mock-up alterations to see how I liked it, before sculpting on the actual figure.
Next I’ll share pics and comments about sculpting her legs. Thanks for following along.


Take advantage of the pre-cast special on “Garden Reverie”and save $600 for a limited time.

Garden Reverie step 6

March 21st, 2013

The initial roughing in of the sculpture is finished.  Now on to refining the anatomy.  From a distance her hands look as if they are finished and for a quick sketch type sculpture, they would be.  I love a raw and unrefined sculpture with natural organic textures because it has energy to it; sometimes the artist’s tool or hand marks are seen.   I also love crisp and detailed modeling, like the classical sculpture of old, where the anatomy was carefully brought to its most pleasing fullness of shape.   This is the style that I’ll work towards for Garden Reverie.




You can see here the texture in natural earth clay.  This clay is called Great White with grog (fired clay bits). Grog helps prevent blowups in the kiln because it enables trapped air to escape through the clay. It fires to maturity at Cone 6 in a kiln, so it’s a stoneware mid-range fire clay.  This is important info for me because I plan to fire her after making a mold for bronze.

By cutting off the hand, I can move it around in every angle to really sculpt it well.  A few registration marks will help to line it up again.



Here are some of the tools that I use when sculpting the hands.  The black tool is a hard wood with a very tight grain.  I carved the tool from the block of wood and then sanded it to a gloss finish.  Works well for burnishing/smoothing the clay.









Fingernails….  I love fingernails (but my foundry doesn’t, ha, ha- more difficulty in casting).  They add to the femininity and grace of her hand.  Since it’s out in the forefront, resting on her knee, I especially want it to look elegant and beautiful.





The lines in the hands need to be incised deeply enough so that when the wax and metal chasing are finished, the lines will still remain.  The bronze casting process tends to remove about 10% of overall detail.




Next I’ll be working on the other arm and hand.

If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.

About Tamara Bonet ~

Tamara Bonet

Tamara Bonêt has a passion for sculpting what is beautiful, with a focus on faces. She enjoys making each face uniquely special, with a soul or presence to them. Her favorite style is highly refined romantic, lovely ladies with sensitive emotion and a story to tell. She puts her heart into each sculpture and wishes to share her love of beauty with others.

Growing up in Northern California, Tamara focused on art at a very young age and spent many hours perfecting her drawings. In time, she began to sculpt in clay and found that to be her ultimate medium to create in. She is self-taught and has carefully studied the human anatomy. Over the years, she has received useful critiques from master sculptors and through online forums, resulting in a skill level that equals some of the best sculptors in the world today. Because she is primarily self-taught, and with her careful attention to detail, she has developed many of her own specialized techniques that enables her to have a special flair and style.