How materials and tools hide from view

From the above image you can see I have sculpted a small scale human head using polymer clay. When sculpting on a small scale such as this, intricate tools are needed to obtain the small details around the eyes, nose and mouth. These details would be very difficult to achieve without the use of tools, they play an important role in the things we make.

 In my piece I used a sculpting tool to sculpt the clay. I use my hands to control the tool in different ways to create the marks. These marks are made by the tool and not my hand; however I am controlling the tool in the same way I would use my hands or fingers to sculpt. The tool leaves traces of itself in my work however small the things I use it for. For example in the image you can see the detailed areas around the nose have marks of the tool, it leaves small imperfections from where I have scraped away the clay. This was my intentions for the piece because I like the way it creates the natural skin look. Without this tool these marks would be almost impossible to obtain.

 According to Pallasamaa “the tool is an extension and specialisation of the hand that alters the hand’s natural powers and capacities. When an axe or a stealth knife is being used, the skilled user does not think of the hand and tool as different and detached entities: the tool has grown to be a part of the hand “( Pallasamaa, 2009, p.47)

From the above quotation Pallasamaa explains how the tool and hand work together. This relates to the way I use the sculpting tool to sculpt. He suggests how the tool alters the hands natural powers and capacities, this is evident in the way I use the tool to sculpt the small details, the tool allows me to achieve more than what my hands or fingers could on their own. He also suggests how we do not think of the tool as different entities. When I think about how I sculpt using tools I do not focus on the tool itself, I sometimes forget the tool is even in use. The tool truly does feel like it is an extension of my hand. The example of an axe or sheath knife is used in the quotation; however the same thing applies to the tool of my practice.

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