How to Carve a Figure in Marble

Not sure who the blog author, 100Swallows is but I really like his/her blog. The blog’s focus is on great artists but there is a nice series of posts on sculpture. This specific post, on carving in marble, inspired me to order the book “Sculpture: Principles and Practice”. There are many used copies on Amazon for basically the cost of handling and shipping.

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Let’s say you have a block of marble set up before you on a table or bench. And beside it sits your model—a clay model, for instance.


The first thing you do is measure to see if your marble block is big enough. Draw the outline of your model on the block itself with chalk or a crayon—on the front and on one of the sides (the front and the side view)—and see how it fits. Measure with a compass or just a ruler.

The next step—the first part of the actual carving—is to eliminate those areas of the block that you won’t need—that have nothing to do with your figure and are obviously in the way. If they are big areas, you can just start whacking away at them with a hammer.

If a hammer doesn’t get you anywhere you can already begin to use the pointed chisel—a big…

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2 responses

  1. Hi–I’m glad you liked the post and I recommend Slobodkin’s book as an introduction to all the facets of sculpture, not just stone carving. He’s not only an experienced sculptor but a wonderful writer. And, like you, I get excited just thinking about how to encourage anyone to start–it’s such fun.


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