Bradford Graves

Bradford Graves'  Writings

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The Handling of Materials

It has been estimated that approximately 125,000 sculptures are produced each

year in the United States. If you add sculpture to the number of commercially

produced objects within a year, there comes the realization that we are on the

edge of literally drowning in objects. The ration of people to objects has lost its

balance so that our lives are beginning to feel cluttered by objects. Our system

demands the continuation of the fabrication of objects with a shortened life of

use, and as a result things fall apart before our very eyes.

Where does sculpture fit into this? I think more thought should be given to the

recyclibility of the materials of sculpture.

Not only are we drowning in the debris of broken or un-used objects, but we are

suffocating from the debris in the air, put there as a result of fabrication. Toxic

fumes are released every time materials are altered chemically.

A worker in the arts is generally not aware of all the process change in materials.

He can't afford to hire research assistants, and his nature will lead him to

experiment in areas not yet covered by research.

We should know more about materials. Few ceramists know that dangerous fumes are put into the air

each time clay and glazes are altered. Many artists working with plastics develop kidney stones or

nerve disorders. The chemical alteration in plastic not only puts toxic material into the air, but the

resulting material can't be re-used by the earth's recycling action. Welding, stone cutting, and paint all

release harmful dust and fumes into the air.

Be aware of the consequences of both the working and final outcome of the product. As a stone cutter,

while working, I wear protective clothing, steel-tipped shoes, safety glasses, dust mask, ear-phones to

block out high decible noise, and gloves. If the stone I am working on breaks, or is no longer needed, it

can be returned to the earth. I am always aware of the weights I am working with, up to two tons, and I

have the lifting devices, such as an over head hoist and fork lift. Much of the art being created today is

an industrial situation so the studio must be set up to handle material on that level. Spend the money on

the best equipment and materials. Don't scrimp.

Think out each step with care in the handling of material. The most important and most illusive material

on earth is life, and care should be given to it


A Legacy Carved in Stone



Sculpture - A Definition

by David Smith from "David Smith"


The Handling of Materials

To Construct a Sculpture

The Making of a Sculpture

The Mythology of Stone








Brad's Writings

Selected Essays