Leone Battista Alberti’s opening words in his treatise De statua, written about 1430. Here the origin of sculpture is described as follows:
This passage is the earliest statement of the idea that what sets the artist apart from the layman is not his manual skill but his ability to discover images in random shapes, i.e., his visual imagination, which in turn gives rise to the desire to make these images more explicit.
Noted portable rock art investigator Jan van Es of Roermond, The Netherlands, writes:
"Particularly people of the older stone-age traditions were handling the principle: nature shows and offers the basic forms or basic shapes. They acquired these forms to fix and perpetuate their "image-language" in typological iterations." (pers. comm.)
Washington sculptor Joy Jasinek says in a recent interview:
“In my 28 years of stone sculpting, I have yet to purchase a squared stone and most likely will not. I do not come up with an idea and then sculpt it from a block. My ideas come from the natural shape and colors of each stone, whether I find a stone or purchase one from a stone vendor. Yes, there are vendors that seek quality and unusual stones from around the world for the sculpting trade. But, ouch … we pay by the pound!"
“I noticed this large, pear-shaped, granite stone half-buried in a nearby field. Looking it over, what came to mind was a BIG FAT CAT.”
Bessie Harvey, a 20th century wood carver explains the process to Barbara Olins Alpert in her book "The Creative Ice Age Brain: Cave art in the light of neuroscience"
“I don’t design my work. I don’t carve it. I just make what I see from found objects. The wood- the insects has already created what it is, and time. Time rots away a lot of wood, and inside that wood, these little people hide. I just go to them and find what I see and bring it out. I think that God is the artist in my work.”