A Look Into the Life of a Clay Modeler

Damian Lottner is a clay modeler at Ford’s Design Studio in Cologne, Germany. Born in Poland and living in Germany since the age of four, Lottner had his heart set on a career in modeling from the age of 16, when he first experienced the Ford design environment as an intern.

Lottner has worked at Ford since 2003. He joined as a hard modeler — working with wood and synthetic materials to produce prototype designs. Following two and a half years’ training with the Ford design team he moved from hard modeling to clay modeling in 2006.

Damian Lottner works on a clay model in Ford's design studio in Cologne, Germany

“Many people are amazed when I explain my job to them, because there is a perception that designing vehicles today is a computerized process and that traditional skills like clay modeling are no longer needed,” Lottner says. “In my opinion there is no replacement for what we do, both in terms of the speed that we can progress designs and the ability to see, touch and truly experience a design in the flesh.”

In addition to his training and experience with Ford, Lottner also studied at the Academy of Craft and Design in Aachen, Germany, and is a keen artist and sculptor in his spare time — hobbies that deliver both synergies and contradictions with his working life.

Damian Lottner works on a clay model in Ford's design studio in Cologne, Germany

“Sculpting is often taking the two-dimensional world and presenting in in three dimensions, while painting is the opposite,” says Lottner. “I’m currently painting the Cologne Cathedral, a project I have had for a couple of years. As with clay modeling at work, it requires a lot of patience. You have to trust in the skills you have, but you always have to be aware that in order to create something new you may have to destroy what you had before.”


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