The foundation of Moore's approach was direct carving, something he derived not only from European modernism, but also from non-Western art. He abandoned the process of modeling (often in clay or plaster) and casting (often in bronze) that had been the basis of his art education, and instead worked on materials directly. He liked the fierce involvement direct carving brought with materials such as wood and stone. It was important, he said, that the sculptor "gets the solid shape, as it were, inside his head... he identifies himself with its center of gravity."
Related to his commitment to direct carving was a belief in the ethic of 'truth to materials.' This was the idea that the sculptor should respect the intrinsic properties of media like wood and stone, letting them show through in the finished piece. A material had its own vitality, Moore believed, "an intense life of its own," and it was his job to reveal it.
Often regarded as the father of modern British sculpture, Henry Moore’s large-scale bronze and marble sculptures can be found in public parks and plazas around the world. Working in various styles and mediums, Moore is perhaps best known for his highly abstract and interpretive renditions of the human figure, often portrayed in the reclining position. He was influenced by Classical, Pre-Columbian, and African art, and bySurrealism; his biomorphic style has been compared that of Salvador Dalí and Jean Arp.
What stood out to the students in the presentation of his works was the size. They were in awe of what it would take to execute such a large piece. They also enjoyed talking about how it would look from different angles - especially the pieces installed in fields and gardens. They took into consideration the weather and how that would affect how it was viewed. They wondered how much planning he was involved in with the final location of the larger pieces.
Our production was a small clay sculpture. We used air-dry clay. It's more brittle than fired clay, but we didn't have kiln time. Some used the opportunity to make Mother's Day gifts instead. Most were inspired by Henry Moore's style.