Materials such as granite, basalt and wood are skillfully sculpted to suggest an idea, yet leave enough for the imagination to reveal something over time. Gold leaf is luminescent in the sunlight; stainless steel mirrors its surroundings.
Below is a brief overview of some of the most common sculpture materials in exhibitions. Further information is available by contacting June LaCombe. She prepares a maintenance sheet for each work sold and answers questions when individuals consider a sculpture purchase.
Granite is the bedrock of New England and endures the weather. For outdoor sculpture, granite is a lasting choice. Products are available to safely remove lichen if desired.
Stainless steel is a durable material for outdoor sculpture. It needs only to be rinsed with fresh water to remove pollen or dust. Mirror polished stainless steel is durable and can be polished with a glass cleaner after a rinsing with fresh water.
Bronze is a suitable outdoor material with an annual cleaning and light coat of butcher-block wax and has a wide variety of possible patinas.
Weathered steel requires no maintenance if a rusty patina is desired, or can be annually brushed with an oil product for a dark brown leathery finish. Steel will oxidize and disintegrate over time, but will last for years.
Marble has been used in headstones and architecture for hundreds of years, but with acid rain, it is now recommended as an indoor material. With mild soap and water washing, it can last longer outside, or it can be allowed to weather but will change with time.
Basalt is considered a durable outdoor material, but care must be given to fractures where water can enter and freeze. The artist considers this in the design of the piece and will recommend when a piece should be inside only.
Stoneware if glazed, can last years outside. Terra cotta must be brought in or covered with a waterproof tarp as water can enter the porous surface, freeze, expand, and crack. As artists work in these materials, they often re-enforce the piece with fiberglass or seal the surface to make it more durable.
Wood is variable depending on the kind of wood and surface treatment. If completely covered with paint or a wood sealer, it becomes more weather-resistant. Gold leaf or palladium leaf is even more durable than paint but must have total coverage so as to prevent water from soaking in to surfaces.