The most easily recognized form of sculpting is clay modeling, that is, the creation of a 3-dimensional piece of art typically using some type of clay: Plastilina
(oil-based clay also known as plasteline, plasticium, plasticine), self-hardening (non-firing) clay
, ceramic/pottery clay
or other polymer-based material.
Clay is highly versatile, extremely easy to work with, and the ideal modeling material for the beginner as well as the seasoned sculptor. With nothing more than a block of clay, the artist can begin his journey of creativity. Your choice of material is a very personal one - based upon feel, texture, and hardness of the material, and possible required reproduction of the finished piece.
In addition to the materials selected, the artist also uses modeling tools to manipulate the material into the shape desired. These sculpting tools come in various shapes, sizes and styles and are used to cut, scrape or shape the modeling material to create a specific effect. They are usually produced from carbon steel, stainless steel, wood, and plastic.
Sculptors often turn to using armatures, and modeling stands, to assist them during the sculpting process. Armatures, internal support structures often constructed from aluminum, help in building your clay model which may not support their own weight. Modeling stands are a type of work table which can be moved around the studio and raised and lowered for optimum use.