How to make a clay figure

Watergate School were inspired by Antony Gormley's work 'Field' to create their own clay figures. Lead Teacher for Creative Learning, Molly Bertrand, takes us through a step by step guide to create your own

At Watergate School, we were inspired by Antony Gormley's work Field which consisted of hundreds of simply made clay figures.  We wanted to make enough clay figures to represent our entire school community, to show that we are so much more powerful as a collective than as individuals. The power of each of us is strengthened by being together.  

Now that the school community has been dispersed as a result of coronavirus and the lockdown, this artwork has even more poignancy. We cannot come together in person, but we can come together in clay! The models represent the fact that even though we are apart we are all a united community.  

We loved the buzz that creating this work generated around the school. We can't wait to show you what we've got when our community is no longer made of clay, but of real amazing people!

Below you can find a simple ‘how to’ guide so that you can create a figure yourself.

hand over hand.jpg

What you'll need

  • Self-drying clay. If you don’t have air dry clay at home, don’t worry – here are a couple of recipes for playdough and salt dough!
  • Clay cutting wire
  • A pencil
  • A choice of decorations


  1. Cut your clay into chunks no larger than the size of a water bottle
  2. Roll the clay into a ball
  3. Squeeze the ball and form it into a body and head shape. Be careful to keep the clay in one piece
  4. Using your fingers or a pencil, poke two eye holes
  5. Add embellishments – if possible, ask each student how they would like to decorate their figure. You could add all sorts of things to make each figure personal and unique. Here are some ideas:

    - Sequins
    - Buttons
    - Beads
    - Sweet wrappers
    - Twigs and leaves
    - Lentils
    - Seeds
    - Pasta
    - Mini flags
  6. Place your figure somewhere safe to dry out