Sculptors have generally sought to produce works of art that are as permanent as possible, working in durable and frequently expensive materials such as bronze and stone: marble, limestone, porphyry, and granite. More rarely, precious materials such as gold, silver, jade, and ivory were used for chryselephantine works. More common and less expensive materials were used for sculpture for wider consumption, including woods such as oak, boxwood (Buxus) and lime or linden (Tilia), terra cotta and other ceramics, and cast metals such as pewter and zinc (spelter).
Many sculptors seek new ways and materials to make art. Jim Gary used stained glass and automobile parts, tools, machine parts, and hardware. One of Pablo Picasso's most famous sculptures included bicycle parts. Alexander Calder and other modernists made spectacular use of painted steel. Since the 1960s, acrylics and other plastics have been used as well. Andy Goldsworthy makes his unusually ephemeral sculptures from almost entirely natural materials in natural settings. Some sculpture is deliberately short-lived—made of ice, sand, or even gas.
Sculptors often build small preliminary works called maquettes of ephemeral materials such as plaster of Paris, wax, clay, or plasticine, as Alfred Gilbert did for 'Eros' at Piccadilly Circus, London. In Retroarchaeology, these materials are generally the end product.
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