Sager - Box made of fire clay where ceramic pieces are fired. A type of fire clay used in producing high fire pottery.
Salt Bath - A procedure in which steel is heated and treated to harden or temper it.
Salt Firing - Process wherein salt is added when firing pottery to create an unusual effect. The salt is added during the glaze firing.
Salt Glaze - Glaze containing amounts of salt to produce a unique effect when fired.
Sand - Granular material caused by disintegration of rock particles; smaller than gravel but larger than silt. Used in clay bodies for strength and texture.
Sand Bag - Canvas bag filled with sand used to hold stone or wood in place when carving it. Sizes vary with the manufacturer. The bags are secured with Velcro or string. The bags are sold empty.
Sand Blasting - Process to clean stone and bronze using high pressure forced air and fine particles of sand.
Sand Casting - One of the older and more difficult methods of making waxes for bronze casting. Specially designed sand is used to pack the model before the waxes form and the pieces go to the foundry.
Sandstone - Sedimentary rock of quartz sand bound by silica or calcium carbonate. Used for buildings and stone sculpture.
Sapwood - Green wood that still contains its original sap.
Scabbing - Occurs when flakes or small pieces of metal fall from an original cast or metal sculpture.
Scrape - To remove material with a sharp edge, either a wire tool or a rectangular steel scraper.
Scrapers - Heavy duty steel tools used to remove rough resistant material such as plaster when working directly or after casting.
Screen - To sieve or run through a mesh to isolate larger particles or to remove unwanted materials from a formula.
Sculptor - A person who creates sculpture.
Sculptor, Academic - A sculptor who is associated with a school, university or academy, who has knowledge based on formal study.
Sculpture - An object created by a sculptor.
Seam Line - The line where the mold sections join and through which casting material escapes; this line occurs in all types of casting, ceramic, bronze, plaster, etc. and must be removed before firing or finishing.
Sedimentary Rock - A form of organic rock.
Set - The initial hardening of plastilina after mixing and extruding. This hardening must be removed by a second or third mixing prior to packaging.
Setting - The time required for plaster or resin to become solid, but not necessarily cured.
Settling - Occurs when particles added to a liquid drop to the bottom of a container. Plaster sprinkled over water should be left to settle on the bottom of the container to absorb water.
Sgraffito - Design made in ceramic ware or pottery with specialty tools.
Shank Ring - End of a tool used in wood carving or stone carving, where the tang in front of the blade acts as a stopper when attached to the handle.
Shard - Piece or section of broken pottery, term applied especially to fragments found in archeological digs.
Shell - The outer coating of hard set plaster of a mold. In bronze casting, a ceramic shell into which molten bronze can be poured without damage. Also known as the mother mold.
Shellac - Coating material used in mold making and casting when modeling material containing sulfur is used. Also used in mold making as a sealer.
Shelves - Ceramic furniture that holds pottery and ceramics when fired; can withstand the high temperatures of the kiln.
Shim - A separating device to divide sections on a model when the mold is to be made. May be brass, wood, tin, aluminum, clay, or plastilina.
Shivering - An effect of glaze on pottery fired at high temperatures; gives an uneven look.
Shore Hardness - Rigidity, flexibility, or hardness of a rubber used in mold making.
Short - Clay or plastilina that is dry and cracks easily when worked, a condition caused by mixing improper proportions of liquid to dry material in the formula.
Short Bent - Wood carving tool with a curved cutting edge like a “u” in the tip of the tool; creates deep quick cuts in wood.
Shrinkage - The percentage a material contracts at different stages of firing. Ceramic clays may shrink up to 20% from the original to the final fired glaze piece.
Silica - Impure forms of salt that generally occur in crystalline stone. Pulverized, it is a bonding agent in ceramic and pottery clay bodies.
Silicone - Rubber from silicone base material and elastomers used in the production of molds to cast polymers or resins. These molds can withstand the heat of the casting materials when they are mixed and poured creating high temperatures due to their natural reaction .
Single Wire End - A modeling tool with only one cutting end; the opposing end acts as an extension of the fingers in modeling.
Sinter - To cause to fuse together with heat, but without melting.
Size - Glutinous material used to fill pores and as a sealer prior to applying gold leaf.
Sketch - Rough design or model of a sculpture used as a guide to create the final work.
Skew - Diagonally cut carving tool for wood with a 45° angle for cross cutting. Sizes vary from 1/8 to 3 inches.
Skimmer - Professional scoop or spoon used to remove air bubbles from the surface of a mixed solution, such as plaster, before casting.
Skin - Thin covering over latex rubber at the initial setting.
Slag - The refuse of metals or ores. Slake - To treat with water, as in slaking plaster before casting. Slip - A liquid clay used in casting ceramic pieces before firing. Usually suspended with a binder to facilitate setting. Slip Casting - Process in which slip is poured into a mold and left to set to form a layer that can be removed and fired. Slurry - A liquid composition used in ceramic shell casting. The wax is coated with the material before being burned out so the bronze can be cast. Smooth-On - Trade name of Smooth-On. A white polyurethane two-part mold rubber chemically activated for use in hollow cavity molds. May be thixotropic. Soapstone - The softest carving stone, also known as talc block or ore. Available mostly in green and black. Also known as serpentine, Eskimo stone, and steatite. Soapstone, Black - Extremely hard talc base stone indigenous to Virginia; polishes to a deep black color. Soda Ash - Sodium carbonate used in ceramic glazes. Sodium Chloride - Salt.
Solder - A fusing alloy of lead and tin used to join metal.
Soldering - Joining sections together with a soldering gun or by welding with a torch. To attach sections of a sculpture after they have been cast; to rejoin.
Spatula - Flexible oval or round steel tool varying in size, used to smooth models or casts and interior mold wall sections.
Spodumene - Emerald green monoclinic mineral used in ceramic glaze.
Sponge - Natural or synthetic absorbent material used for smoothing and water absorption in pottery and ceramics.
Spraying - Using an air powered tool to coat pottery with glaze or spray rubber in mold making.
Springwood - Soft porous section of wood that develops early in the growing season on the annual ring.
Spur - Hole through which liquid enters the major cavity of a mold when poured into a gate.
Stacking - Process of loading a kiln for firing, placing ceramic ware so it is not inadvertently affected by other pieces.
Stain - Used in ceramics and pottery to give a dull or matte effect in firing. Also used in patination applications as a base coloring.
Steatite - Harder form of soapstone but with the same talc base.
Steel - Iron alloyed with carbon. Creates a hard cutting material with hardness determined by the carbon content; 1095C high carbon steel is used for stone and wood carving tools.
Steel Tools - Sculptors’ tools made of high quality steel shaped and formed for specific uses in working with plaster, wax , and clay.
Steel Wool - Various grades of fine to coarse soft steel shavings used in smoothing and finishing wood, stone, and bronze sculpture.
Stilts - Steel or ceramic-pronged holding devices used to support glazed pottery when being fired to prevent the glaze from sticking to the shelves.
Stone, Carborundum - A polishing or finishing material made of Carborundum.
Stone Carving- Shaping a stone into a piece of sculpture either by hand or with pneumatic tools.
Stone Carving Stand - Heavy duty wood stand used to support large pieces of stone for carving, usually with a concave resting area on which the stone can be rotated.
Stoneware - Ceramic clay fired to high temperatures and becoming non-porous; a harder material than the earthenware clay bodies due to the fermentation and sedimentation of its base ingredients.
Stop Cut - A cross section cut in wood and stone perpendicular to the grain or a cut that stops the normal progression of removal of wood in a specified area.
Straight Gouge - Wood or stone carving tool with a straight flat edge, stone carving tool most likely beveled.
Stratification - Forming layers in casting, generally caused by pouring non-continuously so the levels cool at different times.
Streaking - Heavy or off-balance coloration in a material, patina, or cast caused when the ingredients have not been properly mixed.
Strike - To hit with a hammer or mallet to remove material from a given area.
Studio - Where amateur or professional sculptors work. Also known as an atelier, from the French.
Stun - Shock treatment, as in dipping hot metal in oil or water in heat treating and tempering.
Styrofoam - Polystyrene plastic of different densities used for casting and direct modeling because of its light weight.
Summerwood - Heavier, less porous part of the annual ring of wood formed during the summer months.
Sweep - The curvature or angle of the cutting edge of a tool.
Symposium, Sculpture - Meeting of sculptors, teachers, and students to discuss and demonstrate sculpture techniques. Johnson Atelier regularly sponsors such events.
Synthetic Beeswax - Artificial wax made with oil, with the characteristics of natural beeswax, and costing far less.