The armature is the central metal framework (like a skeleton) used to support the clay which the sculpture will be made out of. With around 250kgs of clay being placed onto this, it needs to be strong!
To create the armature I clamp together multiple pieces of metal piping and wire that create the internal shape of the sculpture, supporting each limb of the figure. Its important that the proportions are right so it sits in the centre of the sculptural form, and also well within the clay exterior. The angles of the limbs need to be accurate as any mistakes can throw off the alignment of the figure, so I've needed to tweak the shoulder part a few times to get it right. I've also constructed the armature so that the head can be removed to make the portrait easier to sculpt, and also the hand can be removed to make it easier to mould.