This research stems from the view that although the twenty-first century has witnessed a return to the skilfully crafted art object, many of these artworks are not made by the artists, but produced instead by fabricators and assistants according to the specifications of the artists. Some of these artists lack the relevant skills to produce any material portion of their artworks and, in addition, may have no interest in developing those particular skills, instead relying solely on the craftsmanship of others. I contend, in this study, that many valuable benefits, inherent in an artist's personal engagement with the material, are lost to the artist and the artwork, as well as to the viewer of the artwork, when the artwork is outsourced and produced by others. My research, via questionnaires and an interpretative analysis of critical theory, argues that the act of personally making one's own work provides a number of psychological rewards to the artist, in addition to other advantages such as the development of a laboriously achieved signature style, enhanced creativity and the opportunity to exploit serendipity. Supplementary to this, four South African sculptors, who conceive of and make their own work, have provided their individual insights into the experience and value of personal art-making. My individual experience, as a sculptor of both personal and commissioned works, forms a significant aspect of the study due to my familiarity with the 'hands-on' experience of making, the need to outsource larger work, and in addition, deadlines which require the type of digital assistance which, arguably, creates a further loss of connection between the artist and the artwork. An examination of the perceived value of skills in general, and skilled art-making in particular, contributes to my research's call for a return to the employment of both the artist's head and hand in the creation of art in general, and sculpture in particular. This research contributes to an existing body of knowledge that argues for a return to skill and a renewed appreciation of the value inherent in material contact with the artwork, in order to reduce the current tendency towards a disconnect between the artist and their work.