A Brief Guide To Sculpture Techniques

A Brief Guide To Sculpture Techniques

When it comes to sculpture, there are numerous different techniques that an artist can use. Some of these will be discussed below.

Wood Carving

The type of wood that was traditionally available to artists determined which they used when creating wood carvings. Different types of woods have certain properties that lend themselves to various types of carvings. For instance, the softer wood that comes from evergreen trees like pine and cedar, are not very dense and so are much easier to carve into than hardwoods that come from deciduous trees like walnut and oak. However, with hardwood being much more durable, it does lend itself to more elaborate and detailed carvings.

Wax Modeling

While sometimes wax models are created as something of an intermediary during a sculpting process, a lot of the time they are artistic creations in their own right. For example, it is common for bronze sculptures to be cast from models that are made out of wax.

Shell And Semi Precious Stone Carving

Expert craftsmen and artists over the centuries have used various precious materials for the purpose of carving. This includes things like beach and animal shells, to mother of pearl and coral, to crystals and gemstones. To work with these harder materials specialist tools, such as abrasive powders, diamond drills, and metal instruments are required. Working with the softer, more organic materials does not require such specialized equipment and instead can be done with chisels and knives instead. The types of carvings traditionally done into these materials include religious imagery and portraits/silhouettes. 

Bronze Casting

Bronze is actually an alloy of tin and copper, with it sometimes also containing zinc or lead. As a result, it is not only very strong but also durable too. During the bronze casting process, the material is able to capture the finest and most complex of detailing. The term bronze is actually something of an umbrella term for metals such as brass. When casting bronze, there are two main techniques – one is relatively simple, called sand casting and the other is much more complex, called lost wax casting.

Stone Carving

For hundreds of years, artists have been using stone to create ornamental architectural work and figurative carvings. Depending on the part of the world the artist was geographically located had a direct impact on the type of stone that they used. For instance, in Europe, various types of limestone were used. Nowadays, however, artists have access to a wide range of different types of stone and not just those ones that are local to where they are located in the world.

Ivory Carving

This creamy white and incredibly hard and dense material forms on mammal tusks. However, it must be noted that the term ‘ivory’ is also used for other materials that do not come from animals but are similar. For thousands of years, it has been cherished by both craftsmen and patrons as part of its use in secular and religious objects. 

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