I’m far from Granite country, ladies and gents. Out here in Germany, they most carve sandstone. There may be work for me in the future, but first I have to show that I can also carve sandstone like they do in the old country.
This piece is being done entirely by hand (no pneumatics or angle grinders) and without pointing. It’s not exact, it’s not as accurate as I’d like it to be, but it’s been a great learning experience. Sandstone is a delight to carve, and is very much like modeling in clay, as opposed to the uphill battle that is granite carving.
The stone I chose wasn’t big enough to fit the entire body of the dophin, and I didn’t want to do the extra work of measuring to make a half size version so I could fit the entire body into the stone. In hindsight, that may have been easier and more beneficial… the version I am making now is the dolphin coming out of the water, without the fin on his back.
Hopefully I get this done before I bounce to Thailand for the winter!
It’s getting dark much earlier these days, and by the time I want to take some photos at the end of the day it’s dark already. The hold doesn’t help me hold the camera steady, either… here is the practice piece with the model I am loosely working from. It’s a kind of baroque dolphin that you would see in Italy — in fountains, door handles, belt buckles, etc. Not much like a dolphin at all, aber ist einfach so.
This is still very rough. Lot of work to go, but I love how fast things can go once you know what you want. I am not really at a point where I can fluently make observations and then go to the right chisel to get what I want. It’s trial and error until the owner of the shop comes by and say, “What the hell are you doing? You do it like this…”
The chisels that one uses for sandstone are very different from the chisels for granite. They are all very thin and sharp, and you never pound the stone directly. It’s more like modeling with a rake tool in clay. You might notice that some of the surfaces are pretty smooth. That’s because I have no idea what I am doing and I wanted to try out the flat chisels. I know now that the entire sculpture should be covered in rake marks (the striped pattern on the back created by a 4 toothed chisel) until the very end.
After showing the pictures to Jerry from Barre he reacted with a similar, “what the hell are you doing?” but after the initial wave of criticism he softened up and said I should make the scales rounder, and pop in the eye so I know what I’m doing. So here’s where I’m at now.
Of course, Jerry was right. The rest of the piece seems to make more sense now. Next on the list is the lips and teeth, the I will probably finish up with smoothing out the back and doing the rest of the scales.
So this is the start of my first piece in sandstone. I have really enjoyed it, and learning about new tools and techniques. More to come later on!