A FEW TOOLS HELP BRING PERFECTION
After the plaster has been removed from the carton, we started carving it with a knife. I like to use a "fettling" knive, usually used in ceramics, because of its size and flexibility. The bottom knife in the left illustration is an example.
At this stage, the block is very damp. Large chunks of material can be easily removed. It's important to keep "connectivity" in mind, and carve areas from side to side.
There was only 1 requirement for this first undertaking. The sculpture had to be "open", that is, you could see through it, unless a specific solid shape was desired. Students were encouraged to draw lines on the sculpture, and move them across all the sides of the block in some way.
Everyone, at last, had started.
The photos show 3 different views of a completed demo, a sculpture with 2 "openings".
Once "lines" had been drawn and cut around the block, students were encouraged to "lose" the corners, rounding off some of the edges--but a little at a time. One must remember: once the shape it cut, that piece is gone forever.
Little by little, we understood how to make shapes come forward (by cutting away whatever is around it,) or recede (by cutting it back). The left block shows this very nicely, especially on the right side.
While the initial work is continuing, the block is kept wrapped in very damp paper towls, and put away 'till they are needed again.
Now, I'll tell a little secret about the last sculpture. After it had been completed and was dry, an area broke off. If you use your imagination and visually bridge together the left upper segment to that of the right, you have an idea of what it originally looked like. Now, admit it. If I hadn't told you would you have felt that something was missing? Even so, it stands as a very good piece, don't 'ya think?