Foundation Figure Sculpture: Composition and Relief

Michael Magrath has spent most of his life in the Pacific Northwest. He discovered figurative sculpture while in his early thirties, and has since dedicated his life to the betterment of his craft and the furtherance of sculptural art. Primarily self taught, he has nonetheless studied and taught in a number of rich sculptural environments, including the University of Washington, the Florence Academy of Art in Italy, and Gage Art Academy. Reflecting a decade spent in the building trades as a carpenter, painter, foundryman, and shop technician, he brings a craftsman’s approach to his work. Regardless, his interest in the figure naturally steers toward the narrative and symbolic. Of no particular denomination of religious faith, Magrath attempts to excavate, understand, and depict the universal truths that lie at the core of religious and human experience. His primary focus lies in the embodiment and reinterpretation of mythology in contemporary contexts, and is most interested in its potential to reinvigorate the human spirit, particularly in the face of the cynicism of the modern world.
1:30-4:30 P.M.
Live Model
All Levels Welcome
Gage Capitol Hill
The academy will provide the clay and armature materials needed for the first day of class. However, Please bring a pair of wire cutting, needle nose pliers the first day of class. The usefulness of the following  tools will be discussed during the first session. Most of the tools below can be found locally at Seattle Pottery Supply, Artist & Craftsmans Supply, and/or Hardwicks.

Clay Modeling Tools. These tools are strongly recommended :

  • Needle Nose, Wire Cutting pliers. Please have by first day of class.
  • Fettling Knife. Stiff type, Don’t get a flexible one.
  • Small Ribbon rake* (Sculpture House 404 or 405a) – can often be purchased locally at SPS or A&C Supply and online at

Not required, but good to have :

  • 100g sandpaper – 1/4 sheet
  • Ruler or Measuring tape
  • Kemper WT16 and/or JA17 and/or Mini Duron Set (5 Pcs). Hardwicks, SPS, Sculpture House
  • and/or Mini Duron Set  (5 Pcs) Rubber or metal pottery Kidney. SPS
In Foundation we explore special subjects and technical topics that arise in sculpting the figure. These classes are designed to be accumulative and may be taken individually or as a yearlong series, often in conjunction with Sculpture Atelier. This year Foundation breaks up into two unique, one day per week classes, with Ecorche on Tuesdays, and Foundation Figure on Thursdays

This year on Thursdays we focus on relief composition and drapery. In the fall, we work in ceramic clay from the model, with in-class practice and discussions on historical and contemporary styles, to explore the principles and the potential of relief sculpture in low, med and high relief. Following quarters will include drapery and individual relief composition.

Prior experience in figure sculpture is recommended, however students with strong experience in long-pose figure drawing may find they have many of the requisite skills. Price includes materials