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Different mediums of sculpture

Updated November 21, 2016

Sculpture is a wide branch of art encompassing many different kinds of three-dimensional work. The media involved in creating sculptures include material that will make both permanent and temporary pieces of art. Sculptures can be designed for outdoor usage in a garden or public display or exclusively for indoors. Artists can make sculptures from anything at hand, including sand, food and recyclables.

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Clay is a versatile medium in sculpting. It can be the medium to build a finished product, or to make moulds for other media. Clay sculptures include small objects that need to be fired in a kiln.


Steel welded together can create large or small sculptures. Sculptors create public art form steel as well as artistic candle holders and table top displays.


People have carved stone for centuries to create sculptures. Italian artist Michelangelo chiselled a piece of marble into the 17-foot statue of David.


Wax museums feature realistic models of famous people created from wax. Beeswax can be carved with the same tools as clay or wood.


Artists can blow heated glass to create sculptures. Broken shards of glass can also be fused to build sculptures, with or without the addition of other sculpture media.


Ice carvings can be elaborate pieces of functional art as seen in the ice hotels of Sweden or Quebec. Smaller blocks of ice also become decorative centrepiece sculptures for weddings or other events.


Artists carve wood into sculptures. Some artists carve exclusively with a chain saw to create elaborate wooden sculptures while others use more precise tools to carve and shape the wood. Wood also often serves as a base for other sculpted material.

Recycled Material

Artists can create assemblage art from discarded materials. Artists have used automobile parts, broken clocks, household items and tools to build sculptures of all sizes.


Chocolate sculptures are temporary pieces of art that can serve as centrepieces for special events. Food sculptor Jim Victor has used butter, pepperoni, peanut brittle and cheese to create statues.

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