April 01, 2015

Nothing Has Changed!

Having gotten the chance to take part in the sculpture workshop, I was taken aback by how things have changed so little over thousands of years. From the tools and techniques used, to the subjects and motivations for our carving in the first place, nothing has really changed.

During our talk, it became apparent that despite machines being able to do the major shaping out of a stone block, it was the human hand, with chisel and mallet in toe, that was still the master of detail. Having a particular interest in the statues and art of the ancient world, I found this workshop incredibly insightful and re-affirming for the study of Classics as a subject. This workshop proved, to me at least, that it is worth studying the ancients because they achieved things thousands of years ago without the aid of modern technology, that we, with the benefit of Google Images, 3D modelling and pneumatic chisels cannot reproduce without the more traditional tools of painstaking effort and years of training.

The workshop gave me a new appreciation of the skill, time and pride that objects such as statues and carvings would have required and brought out in both their craftsman and their commissioner, further highlighting their importance in the ancient world.

March 23, 2015

Sculpture Workshop

In attempting to carve a cat I first made the basic outline, creating a rounded and smooth shape. In doing so I found keeping the whole figure in proportion and balanced particularly challenging. In smoothing the edges of the stone, I appreciated the precision and labour involved in creating a polished finish. I then proceeded to define the finer details of a cat’s face. I initially carved into the eyes and the use of depth immediately enlivened its features. However, I then delineated the nose and realised that this should have been carved before the eyes in order the keep the nose above the eye level. It was then that I appreciated the planning and creativity of artists in sculpting figures systematically and with detailed preparation. I recognised the significance of depth within sculptures and how the play of shadows could enliven an image to an audience.

Using predominantly a chisel and mallet gave me a great insight into the skill and dexterity of sculptors who created masterful works with similar tools. The size of my carving helped me understand the planning, patience and precision involved in much larger pieces that previously I had been unaware of. The sculpture workshop was invaluable in allowing me to perceive the practical process involved in creating sculptures.


Sculpture Workshop

The sculpture workshop for the Art and Architecture of Asia Minor module proved an enlightening experience in getting to grips with the materials used to create some of the exceptional structure and sculptures found in Greek and Roman Asia Minor. After initially getting comfortable with using the various chisels and testing the out the various effects they created, we set to work on a piece of soapstone to create something. Sadly, in the midst of carving my masterpiece, I got first hand experience of the difficulties of working with such materials and their delicacy. This however for me raised a really important issue: how would the ancients have balanced the tension between the original design and the practicalities of the stone? It became apparent that what ancient sculptors might have imagined they were initially going to create, had to be adapted based on imperfections in the stone or the fragility of it. As happened with mine, a large part of the rock unexpectedly fell off, leaving my original design inconceivable. This led to working instead with limestone, the results of which can be seen in Warren's entry below.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and would like to offer my thanks to Andy and the other sculptors who were extremely encouraging, patient and helpful as we carved our stones, some more successfully than others!

March 21, 2015

Julia Wessels, Sculpture Workshop

I had never attempted any sculpting and the workshop was a great introduction; both informative and fun! Whilst many of my friends were trying to make something in particular, like a dolphin or coin, my design was a bit more abstract. I started by trying to get to grips with simple lines and then the design grew from there with the lines becoming deeper and more defined - I've had several suggestionds on what it could be, such as a house and roads, but I think it's very much open to interpretation!

The whole experience was tiring and hard work but also very fulfilling. Whilst my arms and wrists grew tired working on a small block of soapstone, the sculptors in the ancient world would have been required to carve out massive blocks of marble in great detail. Therefore, the workshop has helped me to understand just how hard it must have been for sculptors in the ancient world and my respect for them has definitely grown!


March 17, 2015

Zahra's attempts at egg and dart

This is me, attempting to recreate egg and dart moulding. I learnt afterwards that I should have started with the overall curve, and then defined the eggs and darts. Paul made it look so easy when he came to demonstrate! I certainly learnt a lot about the process of carving, and my own limitations!

final carvingzahra carving

March 16, 2015

Warren Muggleton, Sculpture Workshop, 16/03/2015

I really enjoyed the workshop. Despite not producing the most aesthetically pleasing piece of 'sculpture', getting to grips with the tools and the processes was very insightful. I began by working with soft-stone, producing... welll... as bit of a mess, then moving onto the large stone where Callum and I made a fish/ bowling skittle!/ Christian symbol With a seal of authority, I can attach images of this one. It amazed me that people were paid to do this in the ancient world!

I was also reminded of my dissertation topic which was concerned in part with athletic victory sculptures,. I was arguing that the heightened realism delivered different types of messages. These sculptures were produced during the athletic festivals as sculptors travelled around, so the time for production must have been very short! By using similar processes to the ones in ancient Greece, I was even more impressed with the level of detail to which some sculptors, such as Polykleitos and Myron, could go to in such a short time!


Fish on stone, by Callum & Warren

Welcome to the Blog

Welcome to the Sculpture Workshop Blog!

Many thanks to Andy Tanser and colleagues Paul and John for leading our Sculpture workshop, kindly sponsored by local business, Russcote Stonemasons.

Please add you blog entry here, including a photograph of your finished sculpture, and commenting on your experiences during the workshop.



Below are pictures of the students at work, and some of the finished products!

students at worklimestone blocks

soapstone finished

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