Monthly Archives: June 2010

Voltaire Case Study

In this post I will show you the phases of a pointed stone carving start to finish. Of course, I’m not showing all the tools I am using at each phase, but some things are just tricks of the trade and will remain a mystery… unless you want to come to Vermont and see for yourself!

The photo shows the initial cuts in the stone, and the first few points made from the original.

Here, I’ve cleared away a lot of the stone between points and started to go after some of the details.

At this point, I would say the piece is “roughed out”, and I am ready to start going after the details.

After roughing the piece out, I begin to become more systematic and go after sections of the face. I’ve started with the mouth, and I will move my way up the face, and then begin to push farther back to get some of the jaw line and the ears. For the finished piece, I would like to create an effect that the face has emerged out of a rough piece of stone, and leave marks from each phase.

True Blood

After a few grueling weeks hunched over this granite block, I’ve come out with something that I would call finished. We’re still not sure who from history is depicted here, so if anything screams out at you let me know.

For my next sculpture, I will be doing a full size portrait of Voltaire. Through reliable sources I obtained a copy of the original sculpture done by Jean-Antoine Houdon, which sits in Montpellier, France.

This week thing got off to a rough start. Unlike Houdon, my sculpture will be carved out of South African black granite, which I like to call, Unabtainium (it was a toss up between Unabtainium and Kryptonite, you decide which is funnier). South African black has turned out to be not only extremely hard, requiring me to swing the hammer a little harder each time I need to break something off, but as sharp as broken glass when it splits. Oh, I’ve had my fair share of missed swings, but this week was brutal. This may not look like much, but bare in mind this is after 3 missed swings at full speed with a 8lb sledge.

It’s puffier than a muffin top.

5 minutes of grunting, stamping, and teeth grinding later, I found out just how sharp this stone is.

Being something of a fatalist, I decided that life was trying to tell me something. Just moments before this photo was taken there was literally blood pouring down my face. Kind of like that scene from The Fifth Element when Zorg is talking to the darkness… The piece of stone hit me directly in the middle of my forehead, right in my third eye. I immediately looked up what a bindi represents on wikipedia. Apparently, the bindi represents concealed wisdom, and strengthens concentration. The bindi is placed on the site of the sixth Chakra called, Ajna.

It was like an ironic epiphany to start bleeding out of my mind’s eye and I do feel a bit wiser and definitely more focused…

Profile/Recent Work

For my first piece this summer I will copy a roman relief carving of… a senator. If you can tell who it it from the picture please let me know. We have the plaster cast in the shop and I figured it would be good practice to get started. I’ve been doing all the with with a pointing machine and things are going pretty smoothly.

Eagle Installation

So I’ve been back in Vermont for about 3 weeks now. Since I’ve been back I went down to East Hartford, Connecticut with Jerry for an installation of one of his most recently finished pieces. The eagle monument was a historical restoration job. The original was carved out of brownstone just after the civil war.

Job well done!