Your guide to sculpturing

What is sculpturing?

Sculpturing – or sculpting – is the process involved in making a sculpture, a three-dimensional art form. There are all sorts of ways that sculpturing can be carried out. Indeed, some of them produce art 'by accident' perhaps as another process of cutting or hewing is undertaken. In the main, however, sculptors use a variety of sculpturing techniques to come up with something they believe to be artful. In classical traditions, a naturalistic look was often sought after in sculpture. Today, many artists will simply assemble pre-existing objects to make something new. Both are sculpturing practices. Like most things in the visual arts, therefore, a great deal of interpretation is allowed for.

 How is sculpturing carried out?

Primarily, three-dimensional objects are formed from an existing material that is then shaped in some way. Typically, sculptors will carve something from a piece of wood or stone although they might just as well model clay by hand into objects. There again, the sort of fabrication processes that are used to make usable objects all over the world are sometimes co-opted into sculpting, too. As such, riveting, sawing, nailing, glueing, and welding are all methods of sculpturing. In some cases, the act of producing these processes is just as much a part of the work of art as the finished product. This is when sculpturing becomes performance art. In the main, however, sculptures are created behind closed doors and then put on show in public places or galleries.

Which materials are used in sculpturing?

Anything that has a three-dimensional form is suitable for sculptures. Traditional materials include stone, such as granite or marble, as well as clay and wood. In some cases, people make sculptures from porcelain, terra cotta and metal, too. Glass is another common material for making sculptures. It can be blown into fascinating shapes when it is hot, which means forming sculptures from it takes a great deal of skill as well as artistic merit.

What forms of sculpturing lie outside of the arts?

Today, we can form three-dimensional objects in new ways thanks to the advent of technologies like 3-D printing. In many cases, 3-D printers are used to make prototypes of consumer goods, but they can also be used more creatively by artists. No matter whether an object that is made by a 3-D printer is considered art or not, it is said to have been sculpted.

How long has sculpturing been around?

Sculpturing objects for their symbolic or religious value appears to date back to early man. Examples of sculptures have been found dating back to the Stone Age in Europe and parts of Asia. One of the earliest examples of a sculpture depicting a human-like figure was made out of a mammoth tusk. Its production has been dated back as far as 40,000 or so years ago. It seems as though sculpture and the sculpturing processes that surround it are set to continue for many years to come.

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