Monday, March 7, 2011

Awe in Stone Carving

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

“How did you do that?” is one question that seems to define the word “awe” for me. That is the one of the reasons I cannot seem to make a simple design in my sculpture – the attempt to make you (and me) feel awe. But I know that I also do it for the light. Mainly here, I am speaking about undercuts. I get frustrated enough because I am a slow producer, but then in the course of doing the work, I always seem to want to push myself to tackle a new challenge.

So, in my current marble carving project, the “Gymnast”, I thought creating a face that I can hardly reach was bad enough. Today, I took a masonry bit and drilled through the stone to create a space between the upper body and the vertical thighs. The “Gymnast” is in a tight pike position, with her toes pointed to the heavens.

I cannot tell you how wonderful it feels to drill from one end of the stone to the other and have the drill bit emerge on the other side … in the intended position! Twice even – once over the breasts but under the arms and the second hole was created below the breast line. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it is easier to measure the angle of the drill when one is not right on top of it. It is helpful to have someone else around on occasion to act as an extra eye or hand, but it did not happen today and I wanted to get on with it.


After I created the first two holes, I then changed to one of my new favorite tools – a double cut carbide tip on a 6” shaft. As seen here in the photos, I used it to go in from the top between the arms to start to connect holes and open up the space a little bit. I tend to stand back from the piece often to check my proportions and line. At some point, I drew in a line for the bird’s eye view of the breasts, keeping the line further out than I really want to cut. I can refine the line later, but I will never be able to retrieve cut stone.


In this last image, I am looking over the left shoulder of the “Gymnast” and down into the small opening of her folded up form. Really, what was I thinking?

My goal was to finish this marble sculpture before I returned to Italy in May, but I would be surprised if I can pull that off. Still, it is good to have goals.


1 comment:

Jo Castillo said...

Awe in stone carving is true. Amazing! Thanks for sharing your work in progress.

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