Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Marble Carving Gymnast

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Many years ago, I had an idea . . . yup, just one ;-) It began back in 2003 or 2004. I created a maquette (French word for a small sculpture that will be used to create a larger one) in plastilina of a gymnast in a pike position. I needed to make it so that I could calculate what cut of marble I needed. I had been itching to work larger for a while now.

I then contacted the quarry in Colorado and ordered my marble. I had them cut out a block of stone above the gymnast’s head to save me the effort, but more importantly to save the stone for another project. Until I can get enough of the proper tools (for example, a diamond-bladed chainsaw), it is best to outlab these kinds of things. The idea for this sculpture is a symmetrical vertical composition, with a bit of asymmetry in the feet for a fun element (the way no proper gymnast would pose).

I have been collecting stone whenever I have my van with me and a few bucks (or more) in my pocket. The Colorado Yule Marble for "The Gymnast" (center) sat around for many years, but it is the second of the three large stones that I brought home over time. Going to Italy for extended stays postponed this project. In the summer of 2008, I decided to work on the stone a little bit, knowing that I may have to finish this over a long period of time.
Unfortunately, the railroad ties I bought for support and height began to rot and, as you can see in the 1100-pound block of marble to the right, some leveling needed to be done.

Despite the years of dust covering this raw marble and the impending storm (leaving only a diffused and subtle light for my photography), one can still see some translucency in this marble near the top edge of the block.

After cutting away some of the marble block, I had to redraw my design. I am a direct carver. That means that I do not make a large sculpture out of plaster, clay, or wax and then measure and copy it into a block of stone.

Instead, I draw directly on the stone and cut what I do not wish to have there. Yes, I have my maquette, but that is only a tool to help me determine my basic proportions. Soon, I will abandon it and work only with the stone.

And now, for a little self promo of another kind:
Wow -- something I wrote made the # 1 Business Tip on MorenaMedia's blog. So cool!

(Click on the image to enlarge.)

Happy Birthday, Lexi!


FranHB said...

Kels, you KNOW I'm loving that carving! I'm having a flashback to 7th grade..... *smile* As always, your art is breathtaking.

Tina said...

Kelly, sure wish I lived near you and could watch you work. Best wishes.

Kelly Borsheim said...

Thank you, Frannie and Tina. I only hope I can do a good job on this one. My largest marble carving yet. But MY is it cold out and I hate carving when my fingertips hurt.
Still would like to finish for a sculpture event by March 1.
Thank you for your support!