Thursday 20 December 2012

Fine tuning the inside in the dry

A real test for my shelter today as it poured with rain. I worked on the inside again and began to angle the edges. I feel really optimistic about this piece. I am a little surprised and delighted by its simplicity but as the piece progresses I am becoming more sure that it will work really well. The simplest ideas often work better than the more complicated ones in my experience. Perhaps because there is nothing more than the essentials. I wonder if this sculpture would work well bigger than life size? I think it might.


Wednesday 19 December 2012

Shelter complete

The news is full of flood warnings for Cornwall so I have been waiting for a serious downpour all day but thankfully it never materialised. You will see in the picture that I have roped my new shelter down in case the rain that is forecast is accompanied by wind. Moving the whole thing around today has not been very encouraging as it is a rather wobbly flimsy structure. I think more work will be needed to stiffen the whole thing up. Tomorrow I shall be able to work on carving whatever the weather.


Tuesday 18 December 2012

Shelter under clear skies

Another beautiful day which allowed me to carry on work on the shelter. I had to go off and get more steel for the bracing the whole structure. The whole thing looks very top heavy but it would be great to have that much height. I almost cut the legs shorter but decided to wait until I have put the roofing on. If the whole thing is too unwieldy then I’ll shorten the legs.


The other slight concern is that the whole thing might blow over in the wind! Hopefully the open sides will allow the wind to just pass through rather than to sail off into the distance like the house in the ‘ Wizard Of Oz’.

Monday 17 December 2012

Rain shelter

Today I put the shelter together,welding the legs on and standing it upright. The legs are a bit wobbly and will need some stiffening before I put the roof on it. The roof will be about ten foot off the ground. I want it to be high enough for the gantry to fit underneath. I don’t know how well it will work with the ground being on a slope. I will just have to make it to find out I guess. My photo today is another of Pooch’s as my camera is still not working.


Friday 14 December 2012

Shelter from the rain

Today brought a great change in the weather. Gone is the crisp, clear, cold weather of the last few days and the warm rain has returned. I spent the day making a shelter to work under. I built the steel frame and will assemble it outside when the rain stops. I am using clear plastic sheeting which will let light pass. Hopefully enough wind will pass through to blow away the dust.

Today I cannot resist posting another picture that Pooch took yesterday.They are so wonderful.


Thursday 13 December 2012

Smoothing the curves

Surely the last full day of working inside the sculpture. Tomorrow I must do something else, as my eyes are smarting from all the dust that has been thrown at them today. I look like I have been crying for a week! The new lights arrived today and it was wonderful to be able to carry on into the dusk even if my eyes were crying out “STOP”. I rang Pooch and he came round to take some photos in the gloom of the evening. Very dramatic shots in the half light. His photography adds so much to the story of my work. The picture shows me blasting out the dust which has settled on the inside of the sculpture with an air hose.Thanks for this one Pooch.


Wednesday 12 December 2012

The hole gets deeper

I wish I could say that I have finished digging but there is at least one more day on it. Mostly dust now rather than chips or big lumps. naturally I have to proceed with a little more caution as I near the depths that I want to reach. Although the work is pretty rough and unpleasant I am quite excited about the sculpture which is looking like it might be really interesting. It has been cold and clear again which is lovely for working. The roads are like skating rinks and there was a car on its roof near Morwenstow.


Tuesday 11 December 2012

Digging out the inside

A very dusty day today removing stone from the middle of the new piece. Dusty because the stone dust and chips have nowhere to go but to fly up towards my face. I fitted the guard to the grinder which did help reduce the cloud a little. Before digging out the middle I reduced the size of the upper half of the ‘peanut’ in order to balance it. The two halves had been too similar in size and the whole thing looked too top heavy when stood upright. I worked on into darkness tonight by the light of a single lamp. I might get  portable light stand so that I can actually see what I am doing at this time of year past 4.30 in the afternoon. The picture shows me lifting the block with the block and tackle so that I can put the strap in the middle to lift the whole thing up. I was in the process of turning the sculpture upright to have a look at its proportions.


Monday 10 December 2012

Peanut form

A lovely crisp winter morning with clear blue skies and no wind allowed me to start the new larger version  in marble. I cut the outline from the front out which took most of the day and now looks like a peanut husk. Everything takes longer of course on this bigger scale. I also took a couple of hours out to try and source some clear plastic sheeting for my rain shelter. The corrugated sheeting is quite brittle but the alternatives are expensive. I shall think about it some more before buying anything. I found a few small sheets at the dump which will be a start.


Friday 7 December 2012

Still polishing

Not much to say about today except that my fingers have lost their prints because of sandpapering all day. Most of the work is done with an electric sander but the final edges are still best done by hand. All those little wobbly bits and chips have to be removed. Towards the end of the day I cut a big block of marble in half to be ready for starting a new piece next week.


Thursday 6 December 2012

Fine tuning the shape

I have been tweaking the shape of the sculpture all day. I did not like the flat form at the top and back. The bottom half was big and bulbous but the top looked a bit mean in comparison. I try to avoid too many convex areas in my sculptures. Although there was no convex area at the top of the carving there was certainly a flat part. I have removed the flat area and cut back some of the excess bulbous-ness at the bottom. I am much happier with the overall shape now and all that remains is some painstaking sanding to remove all the lumps, bumps and irregularities. I remember my old friend Michael Black of Oxford telling me to spend a whole day on a piece that I considered finished. What brilliant advice it was.


Wednesday 5 December 2012

Heat cracks onyx!

I spent all day digging out the interior of the sculpture and discovered that the stone will expand and crack if allowed to get too hot. Luckily the area damaged was small and i was able to cut the damage away. Onyx seems to be much more sensitive to heat than marble. The sun shone all day although it was too dark to continue at 5pm.


Tuesday 4 December 2012

Change of plan

Standing before my new work this morning I had a change of plan. The square front to the piece looked unsatisfactory and I chopped out a new shape rather impulsively before I changed my mind. The new shape is better with the sides pulling in at the middle.This ‘waist’ gives a little nod towards figuration and the curves now flow in and out really nicely.  In this picture I have not yet rounded the bottom half but have left it squared as it is easier and more stable like that. Digging out the inside will be a big job with the dust spitting up in my face.The translucence is already visible.

I would rather work outside but the frequent showers keep me undercover. I am thinking of making a movable structure that I can work beneath but one that allows the wind to blow through to blow away the dust.



This is a sketch of the idea for my movable shelter. I could get some big wheels so that it could be wheeled out of the way if the sun shone.

Monday 3 December 2012

New ideas

Partly because of threatening skies I started work on a new sculpture indoors today. I normally work on one piece at a time until it is completed but I am full of ideas at the moment and am never quite sure if they are any good until they have been made. I am therefore in a hurry to get them out! I think I have the direction of this new series but am not totally sure. I will have to finish these unfinished works off at a later date. I am remembering one of the delights of my 100 DAY series was that the ideas were turned out daily whereas normally sculptures in stone take much longer to make. I am trying to recover a little of that speed of turnover and the fluidity that comes with it.