Virginia Dowe-Edwards

Virginia Dowe started making dogs from plasticine from an early age "a dog's face is so expressive. I love the way that repositioning an ear or eyebrow can change the whole look of a dog". Her dogs start their lives as hollow extruded tubes, which are then cut and formed. She starts by making the body, which is packed with newspaper to maintain its shape and left until its leather hard. She then starts to construct the rest of the dog, bracing its limbs with props and clay until they are dry enough to support themselves. Where the clay is joined she will leave a torn or cut edge to show that she is using clay and how it's put together.

She lets the clay and the extruder direct what the end dog will look like and once dried, the dog is fired in an electric kiln to 1180c. They are then smoke-fired in a small, lidded brick built pit, which is packed with torn newspaper, colour supplements and sawdust and left to burn down for a few hours.

Emma Birts