ARTS291 Beginning Sculpture - Section A, John Taylor, Spring 2020 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTS291 Beginning Sculpture - Section A, John Taylor, Spring 2020

The aim of this class is to develop a sculpture making process, from the aesthetic idea to the finished state, in the context of the 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 in a beginning sculpture course, expressing these in your projects will be our priority.

We will be exploring the two fundamental methods in sculpture: the additive method of sculpture, versus the subtractive method of sculpture.

Please note: There will be a field trip to the marble quarries of Carrara and Pietrasanta, date to be announced.

Firstly, through the creation of a modeled bas relief in clay, we will explore the differences between the additive methods of using clay, as against the subtractive process of carving a sculpture in a soft cement block.

This course will also cover the primary technique in mold making: (the waste mold).

Course Assignments

Beginning students, in order to pass the class, are asked to complete a course proposal of two sculptures of good standard with drawings for each project.

The first project: A bas-relief in clay - including the making of a one-piece waste mold in plaster.

The second project: Carving a sculpture of your own choice in a soft cement stone.

During museum field trips, beginning students are asked to make sketches and write a formal analysis of a Florentine sculpture of their choice.

A series of short slideshows will be given by the instructor during the first half of the semester. Topics will include: the instructors own work; workshop practice at the time of Canova; modern figurative sculpture; modern abstract sculpture.

Attendance

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.

Responsibilities

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 and Emergency instructions.

Additional Studio & Safety 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

Evaluation & Grading

Evaluation is determined by the commitment to quality, completion of course assignments, in-class activities, fieldwork assignments, attendance and your sketchbook.

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.

Schedule

Please bring portfolios or CDs to the first class session.

Week 1

Monday, January 13
Wednesday, January 15

Introduction to syllabus
Introduction to studio practice
Start first project:
The making of the bas-relief in clay
Demo: Modeling with clay; modeling tools; slab construction

Week 2

Monday, January 20
Wednesday, January 22

Work in progress
Related field trip

Week 3

Monday, January 27
Wednesday, January 29

Mold making demo:
Casting the waste mold
The mold releaser; casting with a reinforced structure the bas-relief;
Removing the mold from the cast; re-finishing the sculpture
Related field trip

Week 4

Monday, February 3
Wednesday, February 5

Mold making demo:
casting the waste mold
The mold releaser; casting with a reinforced structure the bas-relief; removing the mold from the cast; re-finishing the sculpture
Related field trip

Week 5

Monday, February 10
Wednesday, February 12

Start thinking about 2nd project:
Carving marble or a soft cement block
Related field trip

Week 6

Monday, February 17
Wednesday, February 19

Start 2nd project:
Carving marble or a soft cement block
Related field trip

Week 7

Monday, February 24
Wednesday,
February 26
Starting to think about producing a visual diary that will show the evolution of a semester of sculptural creation and research in Florence. This book must have a beginning, middle and an end. The book should include photos, drawings, artist’s statements, progress reports and any other memorabilia and artistic influences.

Work in progress
Carving marble or a soft cement block

MIDTERM REVIEWS

   

Week 8

MIDTERM BREAK (February 29 - March 8)

   

Week 9

Monday, March 9
Wednesday,
March 11
Carving marble or a soft cement block

   

Week 10

Monday, March 16
Wednesday, March 18

Work in progress:
Carving marble or a soft cement block

Week 11

Monday, March 23
Wednesday, March 25

Work in progress:
Carving marble or a soft cement block

Week 12

Monday, March 30
Wednesday, April 1

Work in progress:
Carving marble or a soft cement block
Patination or coloring of sculpture pieces

Week 13

Monday, April 6
Wednesday, April 8

Work in progress:
Carving marble or a soft cement block
Patination or coloring of sculpture pieces

Week 14

Monday, April 13
Wednesday, April 15

Work in progress:
Carving marble or a soft cement block
Patination or coloring of sculpture pieces

Week 15

Monday, April 20
Wednesday, April 22

EXAM WEEK Critiques and studio clean up

Related Field Trips

The following is a list of related field trips to be decided every Wednesday, depending on the weather, and the stage of work in progress:

The doors of the Baptistry
The Opera del Duomo

The Donatello pulpit in San Lorenzo
The Bargello (the national museum of quattrocento sculpture in Florence)
Casa Buonarroti (Michelangelo's bas relief)
The Accademia (the David and the unfinished Prisoners)

Recommended Reading

In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act Textbook Provision, SACI provides, when possible, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and retail price of required and recommended reading. Note: It is not necessary to purchase the book below. It is available for loan or consultation in the SACI Worthington Library.

Kimon Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw, Mariner Books, 1990.
ISBN: 9780395530078 (Retail price: $16.95)

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