The first thing I did when I got in to the workshop today (apart from putting the heater on full blast, for the dogs benefit rather than mine!) was transfer the image of the coat of arms to the board. Then armed with my big bag of clay, started to fill in the drawing very quickly with small pieces of clay that I had tweaked with my fingers to roughly the right shape. I got the whole image filled in and shaped and smoothed the surface a bit before I had to leave it to firm up.
I could see at this stage that I could stretch the design out a bit wider to fill the board up. It was looking very long and narrow, a tad odd, easily remedied!
By the end of the day it was firming up and was a lot less sticky. By tomorrow Ill be able to go to work on it with tools, shaping and refining the form, getting rid of the lumps and bumps.