Ideas and Negative Space

A marble sculpture is created by taking a block of stone and chipping away at it in order to get the shape you want to create.


You begin by roughing out, removing the bulk of the negative (unnecessary) weight from the block before working on any detail. You do this by applying force to your point chisel with a hammer. Next you start to refine the form of your shape with a tooth chisel. You’ll get a smoother surface to the stone if you cut away at it from an oblique angle than if you force the tool straight into the stone. The final step is to use a rasp to refine the detail of the sculpture.


A similar technique can be helpful in other forms of art and creativity. If at first you have trouble defining what it is you’re making, try defining what it isn’t. Chip away at the negative space around your idea by taking note of all the things you don’t want it to be until you start to refine the details of your project. Sometimes trying to force creativity doesn’t lead to the most polished result. Explore how cutting in from an oblique angle or taking a less conventional approach might actually make the result smoother.




H/T Creative Quest by Questlove

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

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