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From a Ball of Clay

From a Ball of Clay movie image

This fascinating and informative video details the step-by-step procedures involved in modeling a clay sculpture, showing how professional sculptor and art instructor Margot McMahon creates a portrait of her model over several sessions (working from a knowledge of anatomy and a sensitivity to artistic rhythms) and then demonstrates the plaster mold-making process by which the final art work is cast in Fondu concrete for permanent exhibition.

Directed by Sharon Karp and Peter Kuttner
2000, 27 minutes

From a Ball of Clay
Can be ordered from:
The Cinema Guild, Inc.
130 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016-4717

phone: 212.685-6242
fax 212.685-4717

Purchase: $150
Classroom Rental: $50


The figure and organic form interpreted in geometric rhythms are what Margot McMahon models in clay and casts in metal and concrete, welds in steel or carves in stone. Her work is a rhythm of lights and shadows playing over textured surfaces of forms which refer to the every person as the hero. She has been called the Studs Terkel of the Sculpting world for her humanistic interpretations. Captured in seated poses or walking stances, her forms speak to us of both the endurance and the fragile nature of the human spirit. A lifelong environmentalist, McMahon views the human form as one with nature and creates symbols of this concept. Public sculpture commissions and museum and gallery exhibitions have been the core of Margot's work as an artist. She has exhibited her drawings and sculptures in Chicago, New York, Washington D.C, Sante Fe, Cincinnati and Connecticut. The Smithsonian, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Horticultural Society and Botanic Gardens, and Yale University have her sculptures in their collections. Besides Chicago area collections her sculptures and drawings are included in private collections in New York, Florida, London, Paris, New York and Tokyo. When working on a public commission, Margot enjoys the process of 1) responding to a community; 2) researching the concepts of the sculpture; 3) intuitively interpreting the site; and 4) creating an informed and intuitive humanistic and expressive interpretation of the concept. Margot McMahon has taught sculpting and drawing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul University, Yale University's Norfolk Summer School and assistant taught at Yale University while earning her MFA. She has been a board member of the Oak Park Area Arts Council and a founding commissioner on the Village of Oak Park Public Art Advisory Commission and contributes on a committee of the Ragdale Foundation.

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