Sculpting is one of those arts that many enjoy trying but only a small few innately talented people succeed. The ability defies understanding, why one can do and another, trying just as hard, cannot. Just to try sculpting shows talent. It is a hard craft to take up. Done well sculpting can inspire, as Helen Lee Schifter says, enriching the mind.
To start, a person must decide in what medium they wish to work, and usually, they know long before they start whether they will carve wood, chisel stone, marble, jade, or some other stone, whether they will carve and cast bronze, or maybe even weld metal. It is a wide field and getting wider all the time.
First, they carve soap or potato before getting enough courage to try something else. Some find they have a talent and interest in carving ice, which will melt. Others enjoy carving sand that will wash away within hours.
Others know what they need to do. If their dreams lead them to work with metal, they get right to it and start out welding, perhaps making many atrocious items to begin and slowly finding their path and what they need to do to express what is in their mind and what they want to show others, building experience, learning by the practice where they need to go. No one can tell them how to make that dream item.
Do they wish to sculpt the human form, to sculpt on a surface, maybe a scene on stone, perhaps a scene of life? Do religious subjects interest them? Do they try to sculpt a feeling or an idea? Does nature stir them to work through the night?
In times past, there were fewer materials to choose from but science and new tools, even new materials have increased the selections. Society, too, has changed. Subjects that were not acceptable are now acceptable. Now, the sculptor can explore the mind. The artist sees his work rejected and rejected with words of would-be critics. Someone will dislike and someone will like, but those who dislike are heard.
Pleasing to Others-Pleasing to Self
Others with strong opinions will tell him how to work, and what the public wants. They have suggestions and think they know. If another person comes along and rehashes that same opinion, the artist begins to question his work.
All along, some artists find they work toward a goal inspired by public opinion, and they may do this for some time never feeling their work satisfying. They ask themselves what is wrong. Why can’t they express the concept they want?
When they finally give up working for approval and try what they wish to do, the work is terrible at first, but they are free to express themselves, and slowly, the work grows until they reach that goal. They find their work now is original and fresh, and as Helen Lee Schifter might say, glorious to the mind.