Peter Stevens on the importance of clay models
Is purely digital modeling the future for the car industry or is the full-size clay model still the best design tool?
Traditionally sculptors would use modeling plastcine for making small models or ‘maquettes’ before starting to carve in marble. Carving in stone requires great skill because, not surprisingly, once cut from the block, material cannot be put back on to the sculpture.
Plasticine was invented in 1897 by William Harbutt of Bathampton in England, it was a mixture of oils, waxes and clay minerals. Unlike modeling clay used by ceramicists and sculptors plasicine could not be fired in a kiln, heat caused it to soften and disintegrate. It could however be easily worked with simple wire tools and material could be added, removed or used again, although plastcine does slowly loose its malleability and cannot be very smoothly finished. […]