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Sculpture in Wood

Sculpture in Wood

Copyright Date: 1950
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Sculpture in Wood
    Book Description:

    In simple every-day language and with lavish use of photographs, a noted sculptor takes you, step-by-step, through the process of wood sculpture and explains how to appreciate and use this kind of art in your own home. The how-to-do-it section contains information on the tools needed, the various woods and their qualities, and finishes. Photographs showing examples of the author’s work and that of other contemporary sculptors illustrate his points clearly. The beginner will find this book opens the way to a rewarding hobby; the serious artist will be challenged by Mr. Rood’s forceful ideas on art.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6422-1
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vii])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [viii]-2)
    (pp. 3-12)

    PROBABLY there is no major branch of human activity more clustered round with barnacles of misunderstanding than the work of artists. People say, “I like art, but I don’t understand it.” The intimation is that to enjoy a thing one must know all about the materials that go into its making, how those materials are put together, and even to some extent something about the personal life of the maker! This point of view should be extremely flattering to the artist since it seems to imply a very deep interest on the part of people —an interest which I honestly...

    (pp. 13-26)

    THERE is not as much difference in the materials, stone and wood, as you might expect. Stone requires less immediate skill but more patience; wood is quick, but you have to be on the job every minute else it will get out of hand. There are few long, dull periods when you merely spend time removing excess material. Wood is more direct than stone and one has less time to make decisions.

    Aside from this, wood is the material that most of us understand in our “bones,” for we have lived more often than not in wooden houses, sat on...

    (pp. 27-40)

    ONE OF THE questions most often asked me is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Well, there is no storage bin of ideas to which I may go and make a selection. At times ideas come from everywhere and anywhere—the shape of a tree, a glance from a fellow bus passenger, the slouch of a figure, a musical phrase, a picture in the newspaper, a character in a book: these are the sparks that often light the tinder. Then there are other times, those terrifying and dull periods known to all creative workers, when nothing comes.

    Here are some...

    (pp. 41-55)

    FOR AN ARTIST, space and the luxury of good things are as important as the tools of the trade. This is difficult to explain to the layman who argues that it does not make much difference where one works, since work certainly is hateful to all. The difference lies in the fact that the artist loves his work; is happy, really happy, only when he is at work. And if art is a necessity for human beings, then pleasant surroundings are necessary for the artist. It does not follow that all artists do have those pleasant surroundings. In reality, for...

    (pp. 56-68)

    THE RASP is one of the most neglected of carver’s tools. Some carvers even discourage its use or say that it should be used with great discretion. The reason for this, no doubt, is that the rasp improperly used can produce sweet, rather insipid objects, which are enough to make any sculptor wince. If you study the illustrations in this chapter of some of my early work, as well as the work of other sculptors, you will see how exciting the use of a rasp can be—also how easy it is to be “carried away” with its possibilities unless...

  8. Carving IN THE ROUND
    (pp. 69-88)

    I very rarely make a drawing for sculpture because the idea is usually so firmly in my mind that a drawing is superfluous. If it is possible for you to work this way, I believe you will find that your sculpture has more vitality than if you first commit your idea to paper or make a sketch in clay. By this latter method you are apt to find that you are slavishly copying the sketch or drawing. The relation of drawing to sculpture is a very subtle thing. In my own case I find that if I make a detailed...

  9. Carving A HEAD
    (pp. 89-112)

    SINCE DIGRESSION, as you have long since discovered, is not only a weakness of mine but almost a disease, I would like to tell a story about the log we are going to use in making the carving of a head.

    Some ten years ago a university student, James Johnson, worked for me, helping with the heavier jobs around the studio. Jim was an outsize man —over six feet—and an athlete at Ohio University. His home was in Cleveland and occasionally he would bring promising young athletes down to Athens to help them enter the university. One vacation he...

  10. Carving IN LOW RELIEF
    (pp. 113-127)

    LOW RELIEF, or has relief, has never particularly interested me as a sculptor; I would rather make a painting. Relief carving, however, does have its uses in making large decorative panels, furniture decoration, bases for sculpture, hence we will touch on it here.

    First, let us look at some examples. Plate 81, Tiger, Tiger, is by William Zorach. This is in oak and is interesting to me for its brilliant foreshortening. Although the carving is fairly flat, the paws seem to project and there is no feeling of distortion in the bend of the neck coming around as it does...

  11. Finishing
    (pp. 128-151)

    WHEN SPEAKING of “finish” in this chapter I shall be talking about two things and you may find it confusing. First, by finish, I mean something applied to the wood such as lacquer, varnish, or oil. Secondly, by finish, I mean the polishing of wood with files and sandpaper. Rare woods such as ebony, snakewood, lignum vitae, teak, and other wax-bearing or very hard woods, are best without an applied finish. They can be left with the tool marks showing or the surface polished with sandpaper and rubbed briskly with a cloth. Porous, soft, or very light-colored woods have to...

    (pp. 152-174)

    AS I HAVE SAID elsewhere, I believe that people are drawn more naturally to sculpture than to any other art. The first object that a baby grasps is a sculptured object, that is, a three-dimensional object, a ball, a block, a rattle, a teething ring. He is familiar with such objects long before he takes any interest in pictures. In all of us the sense of touch develops very early and we carry that sense to a heightened degree throughout our lives. Sculpture gives pleasure and exercise to the tactile sense.

    If people generally have this liking for sculpture, why...

  13. Appendix
    (pp. 175-176)
  14. Index
    (pp. 177-179)