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3D Media

Sculpture is the process of converting materials into three dimensional forms. A variety of media can be used including clay, glass, metal, plaster, stone wood, found objects and more. Sculpture techniques fall into four categories:

Carving - chipping, shaving, parts from a hard material such as wood, plaster, or stone
Casting - creating a form by pouring a melted material,such as metal, into a form
Modeling - pushing, adding, shaping, forming a maleable material such as clay or wax
Assembling - gathering and putting together materials such as found objects, into a form

These techniques can further be classified into two basic methods:

Additive - adding material (modeling, assembling, casting)
Subtractive - removing material (carving)

Some 3D media have been used by artists for many centuries although techniques have often changed over time. Man has carved in stone for millenia; the Venus of Willendorf was carved in stone some 25,000 years ago. Egyptian artisans carved stone and ivory and crafted pottery as early as 8000 BC. Greek and Chinese artisans cast bronze statues and vessels in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. Glass was molded as early as 1500 BC and was being blown by the 3rd century BC. Pottery vessels and figures have been found around the world from prehistoric times to the the recent past and are still created today.

In more recent history, found objects were used to create sculptures; latex and plastics were formed and molded; and now, digital electronics are routinely combined into sculptural form.

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Venus of Willendorf; limestone; found in Austria in 1908; made between 28,000 and 25,000 BC

Chinese bronze vessel; Late Shang Dynasty; Shanghai Museum

The above images are in the public domain.

Some sites about sculpture in general:
Wikipedia Glossary of Sculpture terms
Art Show Sculpture Techniques
Bircham Gallery Sculpture Glossary
Select Art USA Sculpture Glossary
An Introduction to Egyptian Art
J Paul Getty Museum: 4 Basic Sculpture Techniques
Academic Room: Sculpture
Sculptors at Work