The mold only forms the basic shape of each sculpture. all
of the details which are recognized as distinctive
characteristics of Cybis Sculptures are painstakingly
hand-crafted by the artists. Flowers are individually
created from porcelain clay, petal-by-petal. Bows are
"tied" from clay ribbons. The long, slender
fingers which are so characteristic of Cybis sculptures
must be carefully separated from one another. Even the
tiny hand creases and fingernails are carved in by the
artists using the most delicate of tools.
When the time consuming detailing is complete, the
sculptures are placed in the kiln. In the intense heat,
2300oF, the clay's composition changes, and
each sculpture settles into its own natural position.
The use of electricity to fire its kilns
is the only concession Cybis has made to modern
technology. Timing is still done by using three clay cones
designed to melt at different temperatures. These are
observed carefully by the master kilnsman through a tiny
viewing hole in the kiln. As the final cone begins to
melt, the kiln is turned off.
Because the kiln's heat causes the water
in the porcelain to vaporize, tremendous pressure
accumulates inside each sculpture. To allow the vapor to
escape, ventilation holes are strategically placed in each
sculpture. This is not always successful, however, and a
"kiln wreck" in which a sculpture explodes,
destroying not only itself but also the other sculptures
in the kiln, may result.