DIRECT STONE SCULPTURE
1991 - Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., West Chester, PA - hardbound, 160pp
Stonecarving: Fairly comprehensive reference for the stone sculptor. Covers technique, hand and power tools, selection of stone, practical suggestions for the 'business' of sculpture, and gives a historical overview of the medium. Well illustrated with examples of twentieth century sculpture, and with step-by-step details of selected processes.
SCULPTURE IN STONE
Samtamera, Jacinto Chicharro and Camí, Josepmaria Teixido
2000 - Barron's Educational Series, Hauppauge, New York - hardbound, 192pp
Stonecarving: An excellent reference book on the process of carving stone for sculptors. Includes sections on indirect, direct, and template carving, as well as types of stone, sculptor's tools and studio, and a glossary of stone-working terms. Well illustrated with step-by-step photos of works in progress, and a brief history of stone sculpture illustrated from antiquity to the present.
THE MATERIALS AND METHODS OF SCULPTURE
Rich, Jack C.
1947 - Oxford University Press, New York, NY - hardbound, 416pp
Sculpture (General): Excellent overview on wide variety of processes used in making sculpture. Covers all the traditional processes: modeling clay, terra cotta, wax, plaster, casting, metals, stone, wood as well as discussing a number of materials that were uncommon for the time. This was one of the books I referred to as I taught myself how to carve stone. Currently available in a Dover reprint.
CONTEMPORARY STONE SCULPTURE
Meilach, Dona Z.
1970 - Crown Publishers, New York, NY - hardbound, 211pp
Stonecarving: The book contains a short historical overview of stone sculpture since ancient times, descriptions of hand and power tools, basic approaches described step-by-step, and introduces both traditional and non-traditional techniques. Well illustrated with examples across the spectrum of stone sculpture. This was one of the books I referred to as I taught myself how to carve stone. Currently available in softcover reprint.
SCULPTURE INSIDE AND OUT
1939 - W.W. Norton and Co., New York, NY - hardbound, 330pp
Sculpture (General): Semi-autobiographical text by Rodin's only American student used to introduce concepts and techniques of traditional sculpture processes. Includes the author's anecdotal insights towards understanding the essential qualities of the form. Introduces anatomy, setting up a studio, indirect stonecarving, figurative modeling, enlarging and reducing, plaster, terra cotta, and bronze patination. Long out-of-print, this one may be difficult to find except from Alibris.
THE CRAFT AND CREATION OF WOOD SCULPTURE
Carstenson, Cecil C.
1971 - Dover Publications, New York, NY softcover, 179pp
Woodcarving: The author's insight and guidance is an excellent approach and superb introduction to the process of carving. Although limited to tools and techniques for wood, the approach applies to carving other materials as well. Art, communication, the sculptor as teacher, creator, and professional, and the need to extend art to its limits are discussed. I first read this book after I had been carving for about fifteen years, and I found myself agreeing with his attitude and philosophy of the carving process to a greater extent than almost any other authors I have read to date. Unabridged reprint of 1971 Charles Scribner's Sons edition.
these first few books are all ones I recommend most often for carving techniques
LETTER CUTTING IN STONE - A Workbook by Richard Grasby
1989 - Anthony Nelson, Ltd., Oswestry, Great Britain - hardbound, 146pp
Letter Carving: Excellent treatise on the processes, tools, and techniques for cutting Roman letters in stone. Well illustrated with diagrams of tool use and examples of exercises for the entire process, including finishes and fixing.
CARVING LETTERS IN WOOD AND STONE
1987 - The Bodley Head, London - softcover, 64pp
Letter Carving: Good introduction to the basic process of carved letters. Well illustrated.
1976 - Arco Publishing, New York, NY - softcover
Carving: A good introduction to the tools and processes of carving wood and stone. Well illustrated, original hardcover edition was published in the UK.
Meilach, Dona Z.
1969 - Galahad Books, New York, NY - hardbound, 120pp
Carving (General): The book contains descriptions of basic tools and basic approaches described step-by-step for carving in several materials: wax, styrene foam, plaster, wood, stone, and others. The stone carving section was expanded the following year to become CONTEMPORARY STONE SCULPTURE. Well illustrated.
Long, Frank W.
1982 - Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, NY - hardbound, 132pp
Lapidary Carving: Excellent book coving the processes (both old and new) for lapidary carving. Categorizes materials, describes the types and uses of conventional and shop-made tools, and discusses approaches to form and design. Well illustrated.
LIVING MATERIALS (A Sculptor's Handbook)
1983 - University of California Press, Berkeley, California - hardbound, 348pp
Sculpture (General): A comprehensive reference covering the basic processes and tools of contemporary sculpture. Chapters arranged by the type of process used to work the materials, with suggestions and lists of suppliers at the end of each chapter. Covers clay, plaster, cold casting, cement, stone, wood, plastics, metal fabrication, lost wax and sand cast bronze, and planning a studio. Well illustrated.
SCULPTURE: TOOLS, TECHNIQUES, AND MATERIALS
1973 - Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey - hardbound, 287pp
Sculpture (General): Excellent overview on wide variety of processes used in making sculpture. The text covers modeling and patternmaking, mold making, casting, carving, direct modeling, wood fabrication, plastic fabrication, metal fabrication, coating and finishing, abrasive finishing, adhesives, electrical and mechanical problems, fountains, safety and studio organization. Well illustrated.
1989 - Davis Publications, Inc., Worcester, Massachusetts - hardbound, 360pp
Sculpture (General): A fairly comprehensive reference covering the basic processes and tools of contemporary sculpture. Includes sections on modeling, plaster, molds, clay, stone, wood, metal casting, metal fabrication, plastics, paper, mixed media, and a section on preparing for an exhibit. The final chapter discusses being a full-time sculptor. Well illustrated.
THE PROCESS OF SCULPTURE
1986 - Da Capo Press, New York, NY - softcover, 331pp
Sculpture (General): A fairly comprehensive reference covering the basic processes and tools of contemporary sculpture. Includes sections on clay, wood, stone, metals, bronze casting, and plastics. Each section also includes a gallery of examples by different artists in that medium. Well illustrated.
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCULPTURE TECHNIQUES
1989 - Watson -Guptill Publications, New York, NY - hardbound, 239pp
Sculpture (General): The title describes both the format and the material covered - alphabetical entries cover terms, processes, and materials used in contemporary sculpture. Though well-illustrated with examples and excellent as a reference, the depth of some entries is necessarily somewhat shallow.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SCULPTURE, MODELING, CERAMICS
TECHNIQUES AND MATERIALS
Midgley, Barry (editor)
1986 - Chartwell Books, Inc., Secaucus, New Jersey - hardbound, 224pp
Sculpture (General): A fairly comprehensive reference covering the basic processes and tools of contemporary sculpture. Includes sections on clay, ceramics, wax, mold making, casting metals, fiberglass, wood, stone, plaster, concrete, plastics, fabricated metals, kinetics, light, mixed media, and a section on presentation, photography and display. Well illustrated.
THE MATERIALS OF SCULPTURE
1993 - Yale University Press, London - softcover, 318pp
Sculpture (General): Study of the materials used for sculptures in the past, and how those materials were used in the contemporary context of the times.
SCULPTURE TECHNIQUES IN CLAY, WAX, SLATE
1959 - Chilton Company, Philadelphia - hardbound, 192pp
Sculpture (General): A basic primer to the materials and techniques in the title. Well illustrated.
SCULPTURE PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE
1973 - Dover Publishing, New York, NY - softcover, 255pp
Sculpture (General): Good introduction to the basic techniques used in figurative sculpture: clay modeling of the head and the full figure, plaster as an intermediate material, carved stone and wood, terra cotta, cast stone, cast metals, relief work, and architectural sculpture. Well illustrated. First published by the World Publishing Company in 1949.
LA SCULPTURE - TOUTE LES TECHNIQUES
1988 - Dessain et Tolra, Paris - hardbound, 390pp (French text)
Sculpture (General): General technical information on major aspects of sculpture .
1988 - Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey - softcover, 242pp
Sculpture (General): Written to introduce techniques to the novice or intermediate sculptor, the text covers such topics as creative awareness, clay modeling, metals casting, fired ceramics, wood working, stone carving, direct work in metal, plaster, concrete, and fiberglass. Well written and illustrated.
DISCOVERY IN STONE
Armstrong, Jane B.
1974 - East Woods Press, New York, NY - softcover, 92pp
Stonecarving: Although the text briefly covers the process of stone carving, it is primarily the autobiographical story of the author and her discovery of the medium. Well illustrated with examples of both her animal and abstract sculpture.
TAILLE DE LA PIERRE
Pato, Amador Bouzas
2001 - Ecole/Atelier de Restauration, Bordeaux, France - softcover, 217pp (French text)
Stonecarving: Published for the use of restoration workers rather than sculptors, this is a practical guide to working soft stones using the traditional methods of French stonemasons. The first half of the book includes a section on quarrying, and also is well illustrated with detailed B&W drawings showing techniques of using basic handtools, of using an air compressor and airtools for carving, and of moving, lifting, and working stone in the shop or on-site.
The second half of the book is illustrated with sequential B&W drawings to show the methods of splitting, squaring blocks, carving a sphere, carving a column, carving different types of moldings, carving capitals of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian styles, making an arch, etc.
SOFT STONE CARVING
1973 - St. Martin's Press, New York, NY - softcover, 91pp
Stonecarving: A basic guide to working with hand tools in soft stone. Illustrated primarily with historical examples. Though some mention is made of stones from North America, the book is primarily concerned with sources in the UK.
DESIGN AND FIGURE CARVING
1940 - Dover Publications, New York, NY - softcover, 289pp
Woodcarving: The author begins by writing, "Anyone who can sharpen a pencil or peel a potato can learn to carve." The book is well illustrated with designs and examples of woodcarving from many periods and styles, and includes sections on design principles, carving particular types of design using specific tools, and dealing with figures, heads, caricature, and folk carving. Unabridged 1964 reprint of the McGraw-Hill edition of 1940.
SCULPTURE IN WOOD
Rich, Jack C.
1992 - Dover Publications, New York, NY - softcover, 155pp
Woodcarving: Basic manual of woodcarving for the student sculptor. Includes 60 page listing of most of the commercially available types of wood, their origins and their working qualities. The types of tools and methods employed in carving, as well as finishing techniques and additional information about seasoning, toxicity, shrinkage, and specific weights of wood. Expanded from the woodcarving section in the earlier MATERIALS AND METHODS OF SCULPTURE text. Unabridged reprint of 1970 Oxford University Press edition.
FINE WOODWORKING: ON CARVING
Kelsey, John (editor)
1986 - Taunton Press, Newtown, Connecticut - softcover, 106pp
Woodcarving: reprints of 40 articles about different aspects of carving which appeared in FINE WOODWORKING magazine between 1975 and 1986. Topics include carving patterns and decorations on frames and furniture, hand-carving lettering on signs, routing lettering on signs, chipcarving, wildfowl and bird carvers, netsuke, Balinese masks, carousel horses, human figures, caricatures, and stacked & laminated furniture carving. The tools covered include using traditional handtools, specialty handtools, and carving with powertools such as chainsaws, routers, milling machines, and even lasers.
WOODCARVING: TOOLS, MATERIALS & EQUIPMENT
1994 - Guild of Master Craftsman Publications, East Sussex - softcover, 356pp
Woodcarving & more: Excellent in-depth treatise about traditional woodcarving tools and techniques. It begins by describing the numbering system used for identifying different types of carving gouges, then spends 90 pages on the parts, functions, and proper care of the tools. The next 90 pages deals with sharpening the tools, followed by a section on other types of tools used for carving. 20 pages on modifying tools using both cold and hot methods is followed by a chapter on holding devices. Other topics covered in equal depth are the workplace, wood and its qualities, gluing and finishing, as well as sources and references. 1996 reprint.
SCULPTING WOOD: CONTEMPORARY TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
1986 - Davis Publications, Worcester, Mass. - softcover, 292pp
Woodcarving & more: Excellent introduction to basic tools and processes of making wood sculpture, but with a strong emphasis on the use of non-traditional tools and approaches. Begins with the nature of wood, the drying process, and the use of burls, spalted and distressed wood. He then moves on to describe basic power tool equipment, portable power tools, preparing the stock for use, laminating, basic hand tool carving, bandsaw work, finishing, harvesting and working with chainsaws, creating vessels, and a good deal of information on woodturning with the lathe.
The following are all good references on a variety of sculpture techniques, list arranged by the technique category.
I have searched-for and bought out-of-print books from all these folks . . .
The next few references on marble/stone that I have found very useful, though the color repros make them a bit pricey.
THE SOURCEBOOK OF DECORATIVE STONE: An Illustrated Identification Guide
Monica T. Price (geologist & museum curator Oxford University Museum) and Gary Ombly (photographer)
2007 Firefly Books Inc., Buffalo, NY hardcover, 268pp ISBN-13 978-1-55407-254-5, ISBN-10 1-55407-254-9
Over 300 different stones used in the decorative arts, architecture, and design. The examples reproduced include ancient/ historical stones no longer quarried as well as stones being quarried now, though most choices seem to be selected with an emphasis on colorful/boldly-patterned varieties. The text begins with an informative overview of geology, history, and most of the basic tests for stone identification outside of the lab, and follows with the images/descriptions of the stones arranged according to geologic type and color:
Alabasters & Travertines, White Marbles, Gray & Black Marbles/Limestones, Yellow & Brown Marbles/Limestones, Pink Marbles/Limestones, Red & Violet Marbles/Limestones, Multicolored Marbles/Limestones, Lumachellas & Other Fossiliferous Limestones, Green Marbles/Ophicalcites & Serpentines, Other Metamorphic Rocks, Porphyries & Other Volcanic Rocks, Granites & Other Plutonic Rocks, Quartz & Opal, Other Decorative Minerals.
All of the 2½"x4" full-color life-size photo reproductions of the stones are accompanied by a geologic description, quarry locations, uses, and many also have accompanying images of the stone's historic and/or contemporary applications.
Scattered throughout the sections above are additional very brief (one-two pages each) sections on how different white marbles are identified/distinguished in the lab, the art of simulating stone decoratively (scagliola & faux finishing), the art of Pietra Dura (inlaid stone), marble pavements, various uses of stone in buildings & home, and notes about stone for sculpture.
General bibliography, reference bibliography, index.
DIMENSION STONES OF THE WORLD Volumes I & II
Robert Hund (author & editor), Ronald Busse
1990-93 - Marble Institute of America - loose-leaf, 553plus pages
This open-ended reference work consists of two loose-leaf volumes, worked on by numerous teams led by the directors of the Marble Institute of America over a number of years. Because it is loose-leaf, it is/was enlarged by the addition of supplementary pages printed and available to the purchasers in following years. The original two volumes contained examples of 518 stones - 180 granites, 138 limestones, 163 marbles, 15 travertines, and an assortment of 22 examples of onyx, quartz-based stone and slate. The original 518 examples are referenced by four different indexes: by color range, by producer, by type of stone, and by a cross-reference of names - the supplementary pages are not indexed. There are also 6 pages of the same text in each volume describing common terms used in the trade, standards for testing values, and geological classifications in addition to the table of contents and credits to the teams.
The primary subject of the two volumes set (and possible later volumes) is a series of life-size full-color reproduction plates (7¾" wide x 8¼"high) printed on glossy 8½" x 11"stock, and above each example is a coded label number which gives the type of stone classification.
On the reverse of each page there is a standard information form for each example - containing the primary name, other trade names, type of stone, country of origin, quarry location, geological formation, color range, any additional description, int/ext usage, technical values as to absorption, density, compressive strength, abrasion resistance or hardness, flexural strength, MIA classification for soundness (marble only), and the source of both the color plate and all information (usually the company owning or operating the quarry).
I purchased my copy directly from the Marble Institute of America in the early nineties, and received two updates in the mid-1990's, each update with about half-a-dozen additional loose-leaf pages of granite, limestone, or marble examples.
Marble Institute of America phone: 614.228.6194
30 Eden Alley Suite 301 fax: 614.461.1497
Columbus, Ohio 43215 USA
MARMI ITALIANI GUIDA TECNICA
1982 - Italian Institute for Foreign Trade, Milan obtained through the Italian Trade Commission in USA
Volume I (text - hardback 78pp) and Volume II (146 plates - loose-leaf 175pp) (English text)
A two-volume publication assembled by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Trade. The first volume contains brief texts by eight authors describing the marble industry in general, and in specifics as far as some of the technical potentials of the material have been utilized commercially in the marble industry in Italy, illustrated with photos and drawings. A description of commercial terms and practices is included.
The second volume contains a map showing the locations of quarries in Italy, an alphabetical index of the marble names, an index categorizing the stones by color, about five pages of text in English (also five pp each Italian, German, French, Arabic) explaining the technical values accompanying the color plates reproducing life-size samples of the different Italian stones. Though the title refers to 'marble,' the examples reproduced include Italian stones produced commercially that can be finished or polished like marble no matter whether it is geologically-speaking a true marble, a limestone, a slate, or a granite.
The color plates are 6" high x 8" wide. The accompanying text gives the quarry location, the geological formation (age) of the stone, the recommended usage(s), and ten different values for technical properties; including compressive and tensile strengths, impact strength, abrasion resistance (hardness), weight per cubic meter, etc. The plates are arranged in order of their relative color values beginning with unveined white marble and ending with a dark granite.
An earlier, less-polished hardbound version of this guide was published in 1972 in four language versions (including English) titled: A TECHNICAL GUIDE TO THE RATIONAL USE OF MARBLE. Though the text is not as extensive, it contains most of the same color reproductions as the newer version.
Gabriele Borghini (editor)
1998 - Edizioni de Luca, Rome, Italy - hardcover, 342pp (Italian text)
The first half of the book is a series of essays with some color reproductions on antique marbles used in and around ancient Rome, and the interest and subsequent documentation these marbles created in scholars of later centuries.
The second half of the book contains 132 life-size full-color reproductions (3" high x 5½" wide) of antique marbles (not always true marbles, but polishable stones including alabasters and granites) used in Rome, many of which are also reproduced in photos showing them in situ as an example of an architectural element in which they were used. The text accompanying the plates describes the general appearance of the stone, locations where the type of stone was used, when it was being used, where it was quarried, and similar notations. The references used to determine this information are cited.
IDENTIFICATION DES MARBRES
Jacques Dubarry de Lassale
2001 - Éditions H. Vial, France - oversize hardcover, 303pp (French text)
This large format book covers the primary types of marbles used in France since antiquity. The book begins with about forty pages of text about the formation, chemical compositions, traditional methods of quarrying, and the contemporary methods of quarrying and working marble. The main section of the book comprises 164 examples of actual size color reproductions of various marbles. About half of the reproductions are printed on a full page, the rest are two to a page. 75% of the plates depict marbles that are native to France, the rest are from Spain, Italy, Belgium, or a few other countries.
The accompanying text for each example gives the primary name(s), geological description, quarry location, primary use (furniture, architecture, etc.), examples (I.e.- buildings, tombs, etc) or printed references as to the use of the marble in France, and for French quarries the status/history of the quarry. There is a glossary of terms, and a two-page bibliography.
NATURAL STONES: Marble, Granite, Limestone Directory
2000-2002 - Studio Marmo Viale Manfredo Fanti, 211 50137 Firenze, Italy - hardcover, 332pp
450 5½"-square life-size color reproductions of commercially classified marbles, granites, quartzites and stones.
The reproductions are sorted first by category (Marble/Travertine/Onyx - 97pp; Granite - 210pp; Quartzite/Stone/Limestone - 15pp) and then by color groups, followed by an alphabetical index of the names by category.
The varieties of stone reproduced are predominately Italian, French, Spanish and other European countries, with some examples from the Africa, the Middle East, India, China, South America, and a couple from Mexico and Vermont.
Text for each varieties includes the common name, country where quarried, block size dimensions, and the weight (kilograms per cubic meter). Symbols show availability and other material testing results where known. An enclosed loose card with a legend describing symbols used to represent the test values in four languages (Italian, English, French, and German). The material tests shown are: Compression breaking load, Compression breaking load after freezing, Ultimate tensile strength, Thermal linear expansion coefficient, Water absorption, Impact test (min.fall height), Frictional wear test, and Elasticity module.
this page lists recommended books from my studio library, sorted into three sections: