ARTS291 Beginning Sculpture - Section B, Dario Arcamone, Fall 2019 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTS291 Beginning Sculpture - Section B, Dario Arcamone, Fall 2019

The aim of this class is to develop your own sculpture making process, from the aesthetic idea to the finished state. In the context of the extraordinary Italian art available in Florence, both historical and contemporary, each student will be encouraged to find his/her own preferences and develop his/her own sensibilities. Even with the difficulties of technical work that belong to a sculpture course, expressing these in your projects will be our priority. We will be exploring the two fundamental methods in sculpture: additive and subtractive.

Additive process: Approached through basic sculpture materials, such as plaster and clay, including the primary technique in mold making: the waste mold.
Subtractive process: Carving with a softer artificial material or marble.

Course Assignments

The Beginning course requires two finished projects to pass the class:
Project A: Bas-relief in clay (additive method) with the waste mold in plaster.
Project B: Carving marble or stone (subtracting method).


Attendance is required, absences will affect your grade: two unexcused absences result in a lowering of the grade by 1/3 of a letter; two late arrivals to class are considered the equivalent of one unexcused absence. Refer to SACI Student Handbook.


1) Your grade will be affected by two unexplained absences.
2) Be on time for class: the assignment will often be explained at the beginning.
3) If you know that you will be absent on a given date you should notify the instructor ahead of time.

General Safety & Emergency Instructions

Click here for a pdf of SACI's General Safety & Emergency Instructions.

Additional Safety & Studio Rules

It is essential that you leave your work space clean and functional for the next class. STORE your work on the shelves, NOT ON WORK TABLES. DO NOT POUR PLASTER DOWN THE DRAIN IN THE SINK OR DOWN THE TOILET. This will clog the plumbing.

Only sculpture students are allowed in the sculpture facilities. Tools are not allowed out of the studio without special permission. Return all tools to their appropriate place in the tool cabinets.

The sculpture studios have two air-exchange systems—one for ventilation of dust from plaster and the other for ventilation of dust from marble and stone. When working in the studios the air-exchange systems must be utilized for maintaining proper ventilation and extraction of undesirable fumes and odors. The control panels are located on the walls of the studios. Once the ventilation is turned on, it will run for 30 minutes. A timer will then shut it down.
You are NOT permitted to use machinery unless you have been instructed in its use by the instructor of this course.

It is important to obey safety rules when working with power tools. When using these tools, you are required to wear dust masks, safety glasses, gloves, and smocks provided by SACI. When dealing with jobs that create dust (sanding, grinding, mixing powder-based materials), you will be required to wear a dust mask and to put back in the appropriate containers and/or cabinets all powders, clays, cements, glues, etc.

  • Wear the smocks provided by SACI at all times.
  • Do not wear jewelry and be sure to tie long hair tied and close to your head when working with or near the grinding wheel, operating other machinery, or using open flames
  • Wear eye protection and gloves when working with hand tools or power tools that produce flying chips or airborne particles
  • Wear safety shoes provided by SACI when working with heavy materials (20 kilos or more)
  • Always use the appropriate ventilation system when working indoors to avoid excessive smoke or dust
  • If necessary, use the shower in the sculpture studio to wash off dust or other substances
  • Do not use Walkman Personal Stereos or listen to loud music while operating machinery or power tools
  • Visitors are not allowed into the sculpture studio
  • Smoking is not permitted indoors

Click here for a pdf of a more comprehensive list of Sculpture Studio Rules.

Evaluation & Grading

Evaluation is determined by the commitment to the two pieces (see above Assignments).
Attendance is critical.
A minus grade (-) will apply for works submitted after the deadlines (see Schedule).

A = Two pieces well finished: strong in content and craft
B = Two pieces finished: average in content and craft
C = One piece only completed

Graduate Students
Students in MFA, MA, and Post-Bac programs are expected to complete additional assignments and to produce work at a level appropriate for students in a graduate program. They are graded accordingly and, if they successfully complete all course requirements for graduate students, receive graduate-level credit for the course.


Week 1 

Tuesday, September 10
Start first project: Clay modeling bass relief_Demo

Thursday, September 12
Start 2nd project: Clay model for stone carving

Week 2

Tuesday, September 17
Clay cont’d

Thursday, September 19
Field trip Casa Buonarroti & Cappelle Medicee

Week 3

Tuesday, September 24
Stone carving demo_First practice

Thursday, September 26
Stone carving & First project class critique

Week 4

Tuesday, October 1
Plaster casting the bass relief

Thursday, October 3
Plaster casting cont’d & Bargello

Week 5

Tuesday, October 8
Field trip to Foundry

Thursday, October 10
Work in progress for carving project

Week 6

Tuesday, October 15
Work in progress for carving project

Thursday, October 17
Work in progress

Week 7

Tuesday, October 22
Class critique: carving project

Thursday, October 24
Work in progress


Week 8

MIDTERM BREAK (October 26-November 3)


Week 9

Tuesday, November 5
Work in progress

Thursday, November 7
Work in progress

Week 10

Tuesday, November 12
Class critique

Thursday, November 14
Field trip Museo Opera del Duomo

Week 11

Tuesday, November 19
Work in progress

Thursday, November 21
Class critique

Week 12

Tuesday November 26
Work in progress

Thursday, November 28
Work in progress

Week 13

Tuesday, December 3
Work in progress

Thursday, December 5
Work in progress

Week 14

Tuesday, December 10
Deadline for both projects_Grading status
​End of term class critique/Presentation of student research (digital)

Thursday, December 12
Prepare for end-of-term-show

Week 15

Tuesday, December 17
Sculpture rooms set up

Thursday, December 19
End-of-term shipping or possible disposal of projects

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