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Perfect illusion:
Not only car modellers love clay

The Hollywood Director

Roland Emmerich's adventure film »10,000 B.C.« is set in the Middle Stone Age. The film was shot in the Namibian desert, among other places. Because Emmerich wanted a set with real desert sand blowing through it. So 12 modellers flew to South Africa and, together with the locals, built a pyramid, a sphinx and a workers' village - all top realistic and true to scale. Materials: clay, PU foam, wood, hemp rope. Scale: 1:23. Work on site: approx. 4 months. Cost: approx. 2 million dollars.

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The Artist

Michał Plata's fine art master's degree show featured an installation made of clay. Plata, a former car designer, was already familiar with clay. For the art world, however, the material was a fascinating novelty. Plata said clay allowed him to realize his sculptural ideas without compromise. His professors in London awarded him a master's degree with distinction, the art scene applauded, and Plata planned further art-works made of clay.

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The College Graduate

Is the backpack real or a »fake« made of clay? Lisa Schorr's final project demonstrates how realistic a 1:1 product model made of clay can appear, assuming you can model as realistically and with as much attention to detail as a Technical College for Product Design, Selb, graduate. The fact that clay has a similar colour to leather completes the illusion. In a nutshell, this is clay modelling at its finest.

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The Oscar winner

Wes Anderson won an Oscar for production design for his film »The Grand Budapest Hotel« in 2015. The modellers worked on the set for about six months. They created landscapes and a lighthouse out of polyurethane foam and clay, and used architectural model making materials to build the hotel that the film is named after. It took more than meticulous exterior and interior modelling to make the 4 metres long and 3 metres high Art Deco replica look so real. The special effects and animatronics, which allowed doors or curtains to open and close automatically, were also ingenious.

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The Concept Designer

With its furniture-like clay sculptures, debris of clay chips and tape lines, designer Johanna Seelemann created her project, »Terra Incognita«, from industrial clay. Because a clay model is always unfinished and malleable, Seelemann sees it as reflecting an inherent feature of our consumer world: the constant change of styles and aesthetic languages, as well as the continuous adaptation and redesign of existing products. The work was created in collaboration with Daniel Rauch, a former car designer.

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From concept to perfect form. The art of clay modelling.

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Getting started on Clay — Workshops

If you want to become a top modeller, you need to practise, practise, practise.

Five practice workshops to download

Social Clay

Here are a few examples from the global clay community.

Try it