Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by
shaping or combining hard materials, typically stone
such as marble, metal, glass, or wood, or plastic
materials such as clay, textiles, polymers and softer
metals. The term has been extended to works
including sound, text and light.
• A relief is a sculptured artwork where a modelled form is
raised—or, in a sunken-relief, lowered—from a plane
from which the main elements of the composition project
In the round
• Sculpture "in the round" refers to free-
standing sculpture that is meant to be
viewed on all sides, and is surrounded
entirely by space.
• Two main forms of sculpture are relief and
free-standing (in the round)
• Both, can be modeled or carved
• an additive process using soft materials such as
plaster, clay or wax.
• Since the materials are not very durable, they
are usually cast in a more lasting medium;
anything that can be poured including molten
metal, cement, even plastic.
• Modeling encourages open forms with the aid of
metal armatures to support their extension into
an armature is a framework around which the sculpture is built
Working With Clay
Clay may be modeled, sculpted, or thrown. Let’s look at each method:
• Modeling – by piecing together smaller units of clay, or by coiling clay, artists can create figures, pottery and art
ceramics. Any type of clay can be modeled.
• Sculpting – by using special tools and their hands, artists can create figures, busts, doll heads, miniatures, etc
from a lump of stiff hardening or non-hardening clay.
• Throwing – using a potter’s wheel, an artist can form a lump of clay into round-shaped pottery and art ceramics,
such as bowls, vases, cups, plates, etc. Only hardening clay specifically designed for the wheel will work for this.
• Any of these techniques can be combined. For example: and artist may sculpt the body of a thrown vase to
create a filigree pattern along the rim. Or an artist may sculpt a head, then model the ears onto it by applying
Papier-mâché (French for 'chewed-up
paper', due to its appearance), commonly
called paper-mâché, is a construction
material that consists of pieces of paper,
sometimes reinforced with textiles, stuck
together using a wet paste (e.g., glue,
starch, or wallpaper adhesive).
The crafted object becomes solid when the
• opposite of modeling. It is a subtractive
process that starts with a solid block,
usually stone-which is highly resistant
to the sculptors chisel, but also wood,
soap, wax, ice, etc.
the two most common woods used for
carving are Basswood (aka Tilia or
Lime) and Tupelo, both are hardwoods
that are relatively easy to work with.
Chestnut, American walnut, mahogany
and teak are also very good woods; while
for fine work Italian walnut, sycamore
maple, apple, pear or plum, are usually
chosen. Decoration that is to be painted
and of not too delicate a nature is as a
rule carved in pine.
Gouges and mallet
• Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural
stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone.
• Sculptures can be carved via either the direct or the indirect
carving method: indirect carving is a way of carving by using an
accurate clay, wax or plaster model, which is then copied with the
use of compasses, also called "proportional dividers"  or a
• The direct carving method is a way of carving in a more intuitive
way, without first making an elaborate model. Sometimes a sketch
on paper or a rough clay draft is made.
• Soft stone: chalk, soapstone, pumice and Tufa can be easily
• Limestones and marbles can be worked using abrasives and
simple iron tools.
• Granite, basalt and some metamorphic stone is difficult to carve
even with iron or steel tools; usually tungsten carbide tipped tools
• The three basic types of chisels remain the same: a point for
roughing out the stone, tooth chisels (also called claw tools) for
shaping and modeling the forms, and flat chisels for the finished
surfaces and details.
• Within each class there are endless variations; for example
gouges, bull-noses and miter tools are all variations on the flat
• Wax sculpture is an art form that dates back to
the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Greece.
History documents that wax figures were
sculpted for religious ceremonies.
• During the Roman Empire noble families
displayed wax effigies of their ancestors. In
Medieval Europe it become customary to
preserve the likeness of great personages by
making death masks. From the death mask
molds three dimensional wax images were
created to adorn tombs and crypts.
• As this was a costly endeavor, this practice was
reserved for royal and religious hierarchies.
• With the development of a middle class during
the Renaissance, the practice of preserving
images in wax became more widespread.
• In 18th century Paris, Marie Grosholtz became
an apprentice of wax sculptures in the studio of
her uncle. During the French Revolution, she
was assigned the arduous task of taking
hundreds of death masks. Later she married,
becoming Madame Tussaud (photo of actual
wax figure left), and with her husband
established a "Wax Salon" in Paris. By 1833, she
alone had established a salon in London,
Metal in sand mold
• Cast or welded metals,
especially bronze, are also
popular and may be combined
with other types of sculpture to
create unique images.
• Resin casting
Casts can be made of the wax model itself, the direct method; or of a
wax copy of a model that need not be of wax, the indirect method.
These are the steps for the indirect process:
Model-making. An artist or mold-maker creates an original model from wax, clay, or another material. Wax and oil-based clay are often
preferred because these materials retain their softness.
• Moldmaking. A mold is made of the original model or sculpture. The rigid outer molds contain the softer inner mold, which is the exact
negative of the original model. Inner molds are usually made of latex, polyurethane rubber or silicone, which is supported by the outer
mold. The outer mold can be made from plaster, but can also be made of fiberglass or other materials. Most molds are at least two
pieces, and a shim with keys is placed between the two halves during construction so that the mold can be put back together accurately.
In case there are long, thin pieces sticking out of the model, these are often cut off of the original and molded separately. Sometimes
many molds are needed to recreate the original model, especially large ones.
• Wax. Once the mold is finished, molten wax is poured into it and swished around until an even coating, usually about 1/8 inch or 3 mm
thick, covers the inner surface of the mold. This is repeated until the desired thickness is reached. Another method is filling the entire mold
with molten wax, and let it cool, until a desired thickness has set on the surface of the mold. After this the rest of the wax is poured out
again, the mold is turned upside down and the wax layer is left to cool and harden. With this method it is more difficult to control the
overall thickness of the wax layer.
• Removal of wax. This hollow wax copy of the original model is removed from the mold. The model-maker may reuse the mold to make
multiple copies, limited only by the durability of the mold.
• Chasing. Each hollow wax copy is then "chased": a heated metal tool is used to rub out the marks that show the parting line or flashing
where the pieces of the mold came together. The wax is dressed to hide any imperfections. The wax now looks like the finished piece.
Wax pieces that were molded separately can be heated and attached; foundries often use registration marks to indicate exactly where
• Spruing. The wax copy is sprued with a treelike structure of wax that will eventually provide paths for molten casting material to flow and
air to escape. The carefully planned spruing usually begins at the top with a wax "cup," which is attached by wax cylinders to various
points on the wax copy. This spruing doesn't have to be hollow, as it will be melted out later in the process.
• Slurry. A sprued wax copy is dipped into a slurry of silica, then into a sand-like stucco, or dry crystalline silica of a controlled grain size.
The slurry and grit combination is called ceramic shell mold material, although it is not literally made of ceramic. This shell is allowed to
dry, and the process is repeated until at least a half-inch coating covers the entire piece. The bigger the piece, the thicker the shell needs
to be. Only the inside of the cup is not coated, and the cup's flat top serves as the base upon which the piece stands during this process.
Prior to silica, a mixture of plaster and fire-proof material such as chamotte was used.
• Burnout. The ceramic shell-coated piece is placed cup-down in a kiln, whose heat hardens the silica coatings into a shell, and the wax
melts and runs out. The melted wax can be recovered and reused, although often it is simply burned up. Now all that remains of the
original artwork is the negative space, formerly occupied by the wax, inside the hardened ceramic shell. The feeder and vent tubes and
cup are also hollow.
• Testing. The ceramic shell is allowed to cool, then is tested to see if water will flow through the feeder and vent tubes as necessary.
Cracks or leaks can be patched with thick refractory paste. To test the thickness, holes can be drilled into the shell, then patched.
• Pouring. The shell is reheated in the kiln to harden the patches and remove all traces of moisture, then placed cup-upwards into a tub
filled with sand. Metal is melted in a crucible in a furnace, then poured carefully into the shell. If the shell were not hot, the temperature
difference would shatter it. The filled shells are allowed to cool.
• Release. The shell is hammered or sand-blasted away, releasing the rough casting. The spruing, which are also faithfully recreated in
metal, are cut off, to be reused in another casting.
• Metal-chasing. Just as the wax copies were chased, the casting is worked until the telltale signs of the casting process are removed, and
the casting now looks like the original model. Pits left by air bubbles in the casting, and the stubs of spruing are filed down and polished.
• Metal sculpture can be created by one
of many methods, or even a
combination of methods. Sculpture can
be created by cutting metals with
shears and snips, by firing and
hammering metals, or by joining metals
with sheet metal screws, rivets and
soldering. More advanced techniques
involve brazing, oxyacetylene welding,
arc and heli-arc welding and fabrication
of more complex forms.
• A found object, in an
indicates the use of
an object which has
not been designed for
an artistic purpose,
but which exists for
• Combines traditional methods as well as
sculpture with movement.
• New methods can be assembled, glued,
projected and constructed in many modern ways