Sculpture and fibrous plaster: Two closely related arts

Also known as the “second art”, sculpture allows for the creation of both visual and architectural pieces. This ancient discipline begins with a single block of material that is then shaped to the artist’s will.
The process of making ornamentation out of fibrous plaster may utilize sculpture techniques to craft unique, detailed decorations where these cannot be produced using moulds.

Discover the art of sculpting with fibrous plaster

A brief history of sculpture

Sculpture: A work of art produced by carving a hard material, representing either a three-dimensional figure (a statue, bust, etc.) or a relief on a flat surface (low relief, high relief, etc.).

The beginnings of sculpture date back to Prehistory, with sculptures made of terracotta. The ancient Greek and Roman periods marked the first apex of this art with the development of many sculpture techniques for the production of columns,busts and statues made of marble.

It wasn’t until the 12th century that sculpture made its appearance in France, in the field of architecture with the advent of Gothic art. Although sculpture was closely tied to architecture at the start, it expanded into the visual arts in the 19th century, thanks in particular to this famous sculpture by Auguste Rodin.

The Thinker marked a turning point for modern sculpture and the second apex of that art.
Le Penseur, œuvre de Auguste Rodin exposée au Musée de Rodin en Alsace

© Photographic Agency of Musée Rodin – Jérome Manoukian

In 1960, the French philosopher Etienne Souriau defined a classification of the arts, assigning sculpture to the second position in his list of the seven arts.

The craft of sculpting

Ornement en staff sculpté à la main par nos staffeurs ornemanistes

The craft of sculpting is considered an applied art. It involves creating a piece in high or low relief out of a raw material (like stone, wood, marble or metal).

Le métier de staffeur ornemaniste , un savoir-faire ancestral par Rouveure Marquez

The craft of an ornamental plasterer involves making decorations out of plaster and plant fibre using moulds or zinc templates.

When making decorative elements, an ornamental plasterer may need to sculpt plaster as an adornment for a cornice or column.

Sculpture and fibrous plaster

Ornamental plasterers use a variety of techniques to create ornamental decorations. Some of the most common techniques include:


Using bespoke moulds to create the desired shape and ornamentation.


To produce shapes with relief rather than ornamentation. This technique consists of drawing a template over fibrous plaster to create the desired shape.
Trainage d'une corniche en staff par Rouveure Marquez


To reproduce an identical copy of an original piece, by taking imprints (or “stamps”) in the workshop or directly on site.
Modelling is considered one of the oldest techniques employed in the discipline of sculpture.

It entails giving form to a soft material by shaping it. Unlike sculpture, which consists of removing pieces of material from a block, this technique offers the possibility of adding material as needed, to create thickness, volume and relief.

After performing these shaping actions, in some cases on the same piece, an ornamental plasterer may then manually work on the more detailed aspects of the ornamentation or bring in a sculptor to do so.

Examples of Rouveure Marquez projects that combine fibrous plaster and sculpture

Rosace en staff sculptée par le staffeurs ornemanistes de Rouveure Marquez pour un projet résidentiel en Irlande


Sculpture d'ornements sur une conchie en staff par Rouveure Marquez


Colonnes en staff imitation tronc d'arbres sculptées par Rouvure Marquez

To read also

More information

Our teams are ready to hear all about your plans for bespoke creations for your

Spread the word!

Our news in your inbox!