Sunday, January 22, 2012


The most difficult art to master is sculpting. The sheer effort to create something from nothing using your hands and some tools brings enormous joy to the artist, which is why I chose to specialize in sculpting in high school. The most common material I use is plasticine and Super Scupley Firm. I find them to be the most fitting for me and easy to work with. Of course there are other traits to sculpting, such as chiseling, but I have never tried it, although it looks fun but at the same time quite difficult.

I’ve worked with bronze on a couple of occasions, and the product I’m most proud of in sculpting is my bronze dragon which I made in 11th grade. It’s not the best sculpture of all time, it has its areas that could be fixed to make it a better sculpture, but when I look at it I feel good about myself with what I have accomplished.

The most painstaking work in the process of creating a sculpture, for me, is the armature. That’s because right from the beginning you have to figure out what you are making, and in what kind of pose. Certainly you can change it afterwards, but it may destroy some elements, bring more work and effort to the table, and some areas you just can’t move. You always have to have a strong and reliable armature because if it moves, it can destroy your work and drive you mad. A strong armature is a strong sculpture.

The next step in the process is the filling. This depends on what material you are using and what you are going to make. For instance, if you are going to cast it from metal or resin, you need only an armature and lots of plasticine. Or, if you prefer, you can start working directly with wax, but I find working in plasticine first is a lot easier. If you have decided to make a cast out of it, you make the sculpture or model, and after it’s finished you have to cut it up real good, but not before you make a silicone blanket all around the sculpture. It’s good to have a nice strong silicone mold for later on in the process. After that, you have to cut up all the legs, arms, wings, and whatever else is sticking from the sculpture which will not be able to be casted with the body.

After that, each and every part must have a stronger outer shell. I use plaster for that purpose because it’s handy and cheap. You literally make a shell around every piece from 2 parts that you stick one to another. After that you separate them and remove the plasticine from the silicone mold. Next is the wax casting. You can say that this step is quite difficult. You have to pour and pour out wax from the mother mold you just have created to make a good strong wax cast of the limbs. Long story short, after you have done that you connect them all together as it was as the original plastecine sculpt. Then comes the part I’m not involved with which is casting it from bronze or other metals. Casting itself is an art form that takes many trials, errors, and years to master.

After you get the fresh casted metal sculpture from the casting factory, it comes time for oxidizing your work. I cannot really explain how that’s done, as it’s a long process and most of the names for materials I don’t know how to translate. But basically you paint your metal sculpture with acid, a torch, and some other materials.

But enough about metal casting. The much more easy way is just to have some super sculpey. The thing I do is just make it and bake it, easy as that. It’s a polymer clay that can be baked, and afterwards gets hard, although it can fracture quite easily if you don’t have a good armature. As I said before, a strong armature makes a strong sculpture.

Before the winter vacation I was itching to do some sculpting so when I got back that’s what I did first. Sat on my butt or more than 3 days and sculpted a Viking out of sculpey. In the future I will probably continue talking about sculpting