The new drill arrived and allowed me to finish the drilling of the centre circle and also to remove the corners I referred to before. Joining up the holes in the centre ring was not a very pretty job and I suspect not too good for the expensive drill bit either. By pushing the drill from one hole into the wall connecting it to the hole beside it, I made slow progress. After a couple of hours however I was able to poke a rope through the holes and begin applying some lifting force with the telehandler. Only at the moment I cut away the very last piece of marble holding the central plug in place did it lurch upwards. I could then lift the plug away and get a look at the hole for the first time. I think it looks good. The blocks of wood you see in the centre are there to prevent the plug from falling downwards. Had I allowed it to fall it may have wedged itself awkwardly and even broken the outer ring. As it turned out the plug never fell; it’s first movement was a jerk upwards.
Thursday, 27 March 2014
I am waiting for my new drill to arrive so have had to work on the outer shape before removing the inside plug. There will be a sizable lump to cut off each corner which is worth keeping. I have isolated each lump today so that I can drill the holes to split off each one when the drill arrives. I also had time to begin levelling off the flat face of the marble. There was a split that was almost horizontal but still diving towards the heart of the marble. This was making me a little anxious as I did not know how far into the marble the split would travel. On chopping away at it however, I see that it runs out quickly and will not cause any problem.. Once the marble on this side is the same thickness as that of the other side the split has gone. Phew!
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
I am all ‘shook up’ today as I drilled for hours on end. Just as I was nearing the end however the drill stopped turning. It is an Erbaur and not very old. Maddening! Perhaps I should avoid buying the cheapest tool on offer. I have ordered a new one as it is still under warrantee and have changed make to Hitachi. Let us hope it is a better tool. I am looking forward to pulling this elliptical piece of marble out of the middle of the block. I shall have to prop it up from underneath before cutting away the last pieces of marble. Then somehow poke some rope through to lift it with.
Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Here are the new blocks in the process of being unloaded. We use our tele-handlers in unison and can lift the blocks sufficiently to drive the lorry out from underneath. Once the lorry is out of the way we can drive a tractor and trailer in its place. The blocks look to be more or less as expected and the cutting has been done fairly close to the marks that I left on the block when I was in Italy. I shall have a closer look tomorrow. I am once more indebted to my wonderful neighbours Nigel and Rich whose lives are busy enough but always ‘find time’.Thank you! Apart for the unloading of the marble I have begun removing material from the second side of the block we turned yesterday. There are literally tons of material to cut away to reduce the thickness of the sculpture to the desired five centimetres. I can proceed rapidly to begin with but must slow down as I near the five centimetre point. I have made some giant callipers to check the thickness. It is very easy to take away too much and indeed to make a hole. This would be disastrous and to be avoided at all costs.
Monday, 24 March 2014
I have been very absent from my blog as my exhibition in London has opened and I have been very busy with all that that entails. The sculptures look really lovely in the gallery and that is a great relief. Although I was pleased with the sculptures individually it is always different when you can finally see them all together. Half of them have sold too which is great. Back home again I have been working on the large sculpture and was ready tonight to turn it. The photo shows me looking on as my wonderful farming neighbours operate two telehandlers to turn the sculpture. All went well until the final seconds when the sculpture slipped alarmingly before coming to rest in the perfect position. The Gods must have been with us as just about anything could have happened at that moment. Tomorrow the marble from Italy arrives. I have not seen it since it has been cut. Are the two blocks suitable for the sculptures I have in mind for them?
Monday, 10 March 2014
Spring has sprung and I am enjoying working in the sunshine. You will not see much visible change by looking at the picture but believe me progress has been made. The hills and valleys need to flow into one another. The valleys descend to about six centimetres of the other side so as to employ the full depth of the marble. This is a huge task as the entire surface of this side of the sculpture needs to be worked roughly and then got progressively smoother through finer and finer polishing. The coloration and markings on the marble are wonderful however and increasingly visible as I work up the surface. Dust settles everywhere and tumbles like avalanches from the steep sides.
Saturday, 1 March 2014
The dust has been flying and the area surrounding the sculpture is covered with a fine dusting of what looks like icing sugar. I am pleased with the progress and am resolving some of the problems that were not resolved when I first tackled a sculpture on this scale. For instance I am trying to remove roughly half or the marble required before turning the sculpture over. Last time I became aware that more was taken off the second side so that when standing vertically the sculpture had more weight on one side than the other. This is hard to explain but I feel more confident in tackling a sculpture of this complexity than before and happy to be ironing out some of these issues.