Sculpture is an artistic form in which different materials are worked into three-dimensional art objects. Sculpting can be done in various means such as carving wood or casting metal or plaster. Methods and materials that can be used are vast. The method applied depends on the material and its qualities. A few examples of different sculpting methods and materials are described below.
Clay, material used in ceramics, which due to its softness brought about by its water content, can be molded by hands and with various different small tools, whereas wax, plaster and different metals such as bronze are generally cast. Cast objects require a mold in which molten material is poured and once set the mold is removed.
Metal can also be sculpted by welding pieces together. Stone is a commonly associated material with sculpture. When sculpting stone an artist
carves and chips away pieces of natural stone in order to produce a desired outcome. The hardness of stone as a material has enabled some sculptures to survive for tens of thousands of years. Due to its hardness, however, stone is inflexible and thus is prone to breaking, particularly in transit. White marble is one of the most common and admired material for sculpting.
Wood is another ancient material and it is used as main material for sculpture as well as in making molds for casting sculpture. Rubber, in comparison, is traditionally used as a material for molds but is now also used in creating rubber sculpture.
Glass sculpture is initially created from molten material but it can be further worked when the glass has cooled down to room temperature. This is called cold-working. Glass object can also be cut, or etched by the use of abrasive, acidic or caustic substances. There are various different methods, some of which are specific to a region and artistic movements, to mold and sculpt glass and new ones are constantly being developed by glass artists.
In textile sculpture, fabric and textile fibers play the main role. The lightness and versatility of the material allows for fragile and ethereal pieces of art and multitude of textures as well as strikingly precise depictions of representational art. There are but a few restrictions textile as a material imposes on imagination and creativity.
Practically anything can be assembled together artistically to create sculpture. In recent years an increasing number of artists have used recycled materials or everyday objects that have become waste in their art. The sculpture art evolves and develops, it is continually extending the range of its expression and the manifestation of its being.