Kiln-Fired Raven/Crow

with Connie Smith


Cravin’ more avian? Join Connie Smith in this new Crow/Raven Course, offering comprehensive video instruction with corresponding PDFs! Course enrollment includes access to a Private Facebook Group to encourage brainstorming and mutual encouragement. Participate in Live Zoom Q&A sessions with Connie and students, share images of your own progress!
First Course Content release: Wednesday, October 6, 2021


Media Category: Cassius Basaltic Stoneware + Wax + Wire + Cloth = Mixed Media

Course Type: Interactive (refer to the FAQ page for full descriptions of each course type)

Course Format: Project-driven Technique

Course Duration: 7 weeks total; 24+ HOURS of instruction via 27+ video lessons (averaging 20-40 minutes each).

What will Students learn?

How to build a hollow Stoneware Crow/Raven Bust, wing clusters and wire legs (for Bird body) and/or Hands/Feet (for Anthro body) sealt/finish in beeswax, oil pastels & mica powders; plus jointed cloth Body Parts.  A companion course on integrated Costume Parts will be offered in November 2021. (See SYLLABUS below for a detailed outline of Course Content and its schedule).

Instructor/Students interaction: Included in this enrollment is access to a Facebook private group page. We will interact on the Private Facebook Group and meet up via live Zoom sessions to review course content once or twice a week; these sessions will be recorded and added to the Course as Bonus Lessons.

Skill Level: Intermediate to advanced recommended; students experienced with kiln-fired clays are encouraged. Students wishing to execute this project in other clays are welcome, but beginners may become overwhelmed with trying to translate Connie’s method from one clay type to another.

Required skill(s): Sculpting & sewing skills


Free preview lessons offer illustrated supply lists needed for each component of the Doll; a basic list for each stage of completion is here:

  • PaperClay/Parts+Paint+WireLegs: Cassius Basaltic Stoneware (or other clay of student’s choice), clay modeling tools, water in a spray bottle, various airtight plastic containers or zip-top bags, a canvas-covered board for non-stick slabbing of clay, a lidded container for ‘slip,’ paper towels, ACCESS TO A KILN THAT FIRES TO CONE 5 AND KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO FIRE THAT KILN.
  • Wax+OilPastels: 1.5 TO 2 LBS of 100% pure beeswax (do not use paraffin), a double-boiler (or similar pans) to accommodate wax (1 to 1.5 qt capacity is ideal), oil pastels, mica powders, compressed cosmetic swabs ( Clear nail lacquer.
  • Cloth+SewingParts: various fabrics of your choice for cloth articulated body (linen, muslin, various weights of cotton, velvet, silk, satin, etc.; polyester fiberfil, thread, needles of various sizes, hemostats or needle-nose pliers, scissors, baling wire for bird legs (wire clothes hangers twisted together for strength could work). Craft buttons in various sizes (a half-inch for smaller dolls, an inch for larger). You’ll need pairs of equal size. Plastic is fine; they’ll be covered with fabric when we’re done.


Group will be accessible to all students for the duration (plus a few weeks after, for completion of individual projects). Zoom Q&A updates will be posted to the FB group and a link emailed to each enrolled student, regardless of whether or not they’re on FB.

Course Curriculum


    2. (Survey Questions --?)

    1. Lesson 1A: Introduction to Cassius Basaltic Stoneware

    2. P.S. to Lesson 1A: Quick Note about Clay and Plumbing

    3. Lesson 1B: Slab-to-Cone + Butter-Scraping Technique

    4. Lesson 2: Facial Features + Texture-Mapping

    5. Lesson 3: Applying Feather Texture to Raven Bust

    6. Lesson 4: Opening Beak, Adding Tongue + Throat

    7. Lesson 5:Finish/Sign Bust + Bonus Demos of Butter-Scraping for Feathers

    8. Lesson 6A: Assembling Feather Clusters for Wings & Tail

    9. Lesson 6B: Final Refinements Before Drying to Greenware

    1. Lesson 1A: Sculpting Hands in Cassius Basaltic

    2. Lesson 1B: Finishing Hands in Cassius Basaltic

    3. Lesson 2A: Sculpting Small Solid Feet in Cassius Basaltic

    4. Lesson 2B: Finishing Small Solid Feet in Cassius Basaltic

    5. Lesson 3A: Patterns for Hollow Feet + a Note on Reusables

    6. Lesson 3B: Sculpting Larger Hollow Feet in Cassius Basaltic (AirDry Clay Users DISREGARD)

    7. Lesson 4: DEMO: Kiln-Firing in my Olympic HotBox Test Kiln (AirDry Clay Users DISREGARD)

    1. Lesson 1: Transporting Wares + Sealing Clay Parts in Beeswax

    2. Lesson 2: Refining Final Color with Oil Pastels and Mica Powders

    3. Lesson 3: Glossing Sculpted Eyes

    1. Lesson 1A: Establishing Proportion + Wire Leg Armatures for Bird Body (Templates)

    2. Lesson 1B: Wire Leg Armatures for Bird Body

About this course

  • $99.00
  • 53 lessons
  • 24 hours of video content

Connie Smith

Ceramic & Air-Dry Clays - Wax - Mixed Media

A third-generation artist, I’ve sculpted clay and experimented with basic hand-sewing techniques since early childhood. I studied Ceramic Arts and Printmaking at the University of Memphis, and took intermittent night courses in Animation at NYU during a decade in New York City. I have been an Artist Member of the National Institute of American Doll Artists since 1996, having taught many live workshops through NIADA’s Dollmaking School, and served on the Board since 2015. My style incorporates anthropomorphic character hybrids, and endeavors towards eco-friendly, sustainable practices with materials, which I try to encourage in my students. Welcome!

VISIT: Connie Smith Portfolio