Sculpting is my least favourite task. I do enjoy my work, but this is the most important stage, and by being so early in the process it can very quickly throw a spanner in my plans, especially if I'm trying to make a whole new collection. If I can't make it out of clay, it simply isn't happening.
The upside is that I've learned that the shape doesn't have to be perfect. What I mean by that, of course, is that I paint my pieces, so I make the whole thing out of single-coloured clay and that means detail is non-existent. It's difficult to tell what it is until I've painted it, so I have to try to envision the paint on it while I'm making it to silence my concerns that it's not right.
Painting is what makes or breaks it, and I think I'm better at the painting than I am the sculpting, so that generally encourages me not to give up on something.
I do have special clay tools, but I don't use them. I work in such a small scale that the tools just get in my way, so it's all fingertips and fingernails. I squash many pieces. But I've been doing this for five years now, so despite my clumsy nature, I've had enough practise that I know the weight of my hand when dealing with the clay, and that's also how I can get animals roughly the same size and shape every time.
I also work directly onto a baking tray, and that means both sculpting and painting. So I have two baking trays, cookie sheets, whatever you want to call them, that are covered in paint and paint-free marks from where the clay was while I painted it.
And finally for the fact that shocks people the most: I don't use any kind of magnification. No glasses, no free-standing, and Seeg does not stand over me holding a bug-spotter.
And don't forget about my final Christmas order dates for domestic and international purchases!