There are many types of stone to carve but, as with the disciplines of ceramics and modeling, there are carving stones that are the favorites of carvers, instructors and students.
The primary carving stones are Italian Alabaster, either translucent white (where light will pass through the stone) or opaque white (where light will not penetrate the stone), and Soapstone (talc block) which will be mostly light and dark green in color.
Stone is usually classified into four groups each defined by its hardness or carvability. Soapstone is the softest. Alabaster is the second hardest and is considered a medium hard stone as are sandstone and limestone which are abrasive stones. (Marble and granite are the third and fourth hardest stones for carving.)
While alabaster comes in many colors, the favorites of sculptors everywhere are the translucent and opaque white alabaster. Green soapstone and white alabaster are suggested as carving stones for beginners.
For more information on the carving hardness of the alabaster and soapstone sold by Sculpture House, please click here.