Guide to Sculpting

An Introduction to Sculpting

A branch of the visual arts that is expressed in three dimensions, sculpting is a widely popular form of expression which has been used throughout history. Sculptural methods have traditionally focused on carving and modeling, mostly in stone, metal, and wood. Some of the most famous sculpting works include those of David, Venus de Milo, The Discus Thrower (Discobolus), Statue of Liberty, Le Penseur, The Sphinx and Lady Justice.
Sweet Briar College, Department of Art History: Provides insights into sculpting history and development in different parts of the world.
The Henry-Moore Foundation: The Henry Moore Foundation was established by Moore in 1977, and is now one of the UK's leading arts charities.
Classical Art Research Centre: Information on plaster casts, different types, and history.
Save Outdoor Sculptures: A resource for identifying, documenting, and conserving Outdoor Sculpture nationwide.
The International Sculpture Center (ISC): A non-profit organization founded to champion the creation and understanding of the art of sculpting and its contribution to society.
The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum: Devoted to the preservation, documentation, presentation, and interpretation of the work of Isamu Noguchi, a popular sculptor.

The History of Sculpting

The history of sculpting goes back thousands of years. However, since the technique of kiln firing wasn’t available back then, we don’t have any real artifacts from that period. The earliest clay sculptures found date back to about 6000 BC. The most remarkable eras in sculpting include the Prehistoric, Roman, Byzantine, Gothic, Baroque, Neo-Classical and then the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
One of the most famous periods for sculpting was the Italian renaissance, when sculptors like Donatello and Michelangelo created their masterpieces. Michelangelo’s David is probably one of the most famous sculptures in history.
Contemporary sculpting drifted far from traditional processes gradually, and began to focus on the depiction of the human body, with the making of constructed sculpture, and the presentation of found objects as finished art works.
Stone sculpture and petroglyphs of Central Asia: An interesting essay on stone sculpting and its revolution in Central Asia.
Sculpture in the new century: Material Aspects of the Art â€" an essay
Grounds for Sculpture: Grounds For Sculpture exhibits works by well-known and emerging contemporary sculptors in the museum buildings and landscaped sculpture park.



Sculpting is often classified as one of the plastic arts because it can entail the use of materials that can be molded or modulated. The commonly used materials in sculpting include clay, sand, stone, marble, wood, concrete and plaster. Sculptors use various techniques such as carving, shaping, chiseling, whittling, etc. to create their sculptures.
Sand Sculpting 101: Learn how to play with sand and create masterpieces at the beach.
The Technique of Bronze Statuary in Ancient Greece: An essay on bronze statues in ancient Greece and their significance.
Sculpture - Frozen Dance: A detailed study of sculpture.
Classical Greek Sculpture: A brief history and insight into classical Greek sculpture and its methods.
Sculpture Portfolios: Rhode Island School of Design showcases its students’ sculpture portfolios for the year 2012.


Popular Sculpting Methods & Techniques

Wood carving: Working and manipulating wood by means of a cutting tool held in the hand is called wood carving. This method produces wooden art or results in the sculptural decoration and ornamentation of a wooden object.
Bronze sculpture: The most widely used metal for cast metal sculptures is bronze. A cast sculpture of bronze is usually referred to simply as a "bronze". The most common bronze alloys have the unusual yet desirable property of increasing in size a little just before they set, thus filling even the finest details of any given mold. Their lack of brittleness and strength is looked upon favorably when figures in action are to be designed, especially when juxtaposed against a variety of ceramic or stone substances.
Stone carving: The ancient art of stone carving entails shaping of rough natural stone pieces by the controlled elimination of stone. Evidence has been found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work, partly owing to the permanence of the material.
The earliest form of stone art is probably rock engravings. The process entails creating images by removing part of a rock surface which remains in situ, by pecking, incising, abrading and carving.
The sculpting of monuments covers broad works as well as architectural sculptures, which is commonly attached with buildings, adding extra meaning to their existence.
Casting: Casting is defined by and consists of a manufacturing process through which a molten metal or other such material is poured into a mold containing a hollow cavity of the shape desired, and then allowed to solidify.
To complete the process, the solid casting is then ejected or taken out by other such means. The whole process may be used to create hot liquid metals or a variety of materials that could set after mixing of the constituents. Casting is mostly used to creating complex forms that would be difficult or inefficient to create otherwise using other methods.
Sculpture: Plaster Carving: A great tutorial for learning how to create a plaster sculpture.
Techniques of Sculpture: Andrew Werby answers questions about modeling, carving, metalworking, casting, concrete, surface treatments and more.
Custom Dolls, Houses, & Miniatures: Learn to sculpt a head & face from Polymer Clay.
Tape Culture: DIY for making casts of objects using packing tape.
Making of the Batman Statue: A detailed guide to how a Batman statue was created using digital technology.

Further Reading:
Get yourself familiar with sculpting and sculptors.
Wood Sculpture by Stefanie Rocknak: Inspirational wood art by a great artist.
Money Sculpture with Justine Smith: Unique sculpting using actual money by Justine Smith.
Wick Ahrens: Master Whale sculptor, Wick Ahrens dazzles with his marine life sculpting.
Sculpture Resources: An impressive list of resources for sculpture supplies, materials, and information compiled by Andrew Werby.
Anne Cox's Assemblages: An interview with Anne Cox, a sculptor who combines discarded debris to create expressive and symbolic assemblages of our culture's pressures, desires, and beliefs.
Smooth-On Product Tutorials:Instructional videos and step-by-step photo tutorials for lifecasting, model making, concrete casting, sculpture projects, and more.

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