I have spent days fiddling with the top shape. Indecision always takes ages. I thought I had the shape a couple of days ago and then polished the whole thing only to decide that the shape was not quite right after all. I then re worked the shape again and I think it is now ok. Tomorrow morning I will look again to see if it still looks good. There is of course the temptation to just say ‘’ Oh to hell with it , that’s fine!’’ I know from having done that in the past that I will feel bad about it for ever more however if laziness lets me do something like that. You can see in the attached picture that there is still a flatness to the top of the sculpture. Perhaps this only matters to me and no one would ever notice. Working alone, being driven by these strange notions strikes me as crazy sometimes. Don’t answer that, I know it is madness!
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Thursday, 21 February 2013
I removed the last of the large area of waste on the convex side of the sculpture today. The fine tuning of the shape begins now. Although very little stone is now being removed the curves want to be running into one another without lumps or hollows. I work over the surface many times with a painted sheet of hardboard. This shows the highpoints which can than be removed. There are still some dips and flat areas that will need further work tomorrow. There was a bitter wind today which swirled around and blew dust everywhere, including into my eyes.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
The sun shone all day on me as I cut into the new block. I decided it would be better to carve the convex side of the marble first as it will be less delicate when I come to turning it over. With the other large sculptures like this I have made I am all too aware of how tricky it is to turn over. I shall make a substantial steel frame to cradle the work in when the time comes. For the moment however I have plenty of work to do removing marble from the top. I have removed a strip from side to side and from top to bottom to help show myself the way. There will be lots of fine tuning to do to get the shape exactly right. I must avoid having a flat area on top, or anywhere for that matter.
Monday, 18 February 2013
Crikey this feels like quite a moment. The vast block is sitting there with all its potential in tact. I am anxious to start before I begin to feel the weight of the infinite possibilities that are in front of me. Like a blank sheet of paper, it can feel feel daunting before beginning. You can see the blue lines on the block. I spent most of the day moving these around, trying to decide where they should best go. Tomorrow I shall start.
Sunday, 17 February 2013
Two large blocks are safely installed at the workshop. the damage done at the quarry seems to be superficial luckily. I have constructed two pairs of railway sleeper stands to raise the blocks up to a good working height. I think I have a plan for the thicker of the two blocks. Very simple indeed but I think one that might work well. The rectangular block will stand on its edge and billow the full thickness of the marble. A smooth dish with square corners. Without drawing it out it is hard to explain more fully. I am excited at the prospect of it though. I cannot quite decide if the sides of the marble should pull inwards resembling the shape that would be described if a handkerchief were billowing in the wind held by its corners. To keep the edges straight would lessen the resemblance to something billowing. This would be less lifelike perhaps.. I shall meditate on this through the many hours of cutting before I must decide on this.
Friday, 15 February 2013
Yesterday turned into a nightmare as the marble arrived from Italy but in the wrong kind of lorry. This may sound like a minor problem but the marble had been selected to be the maximum weight my neighbour an I can pick up with our two telehandlers working in unison. We have one machine on each side of the lorry and lift the marble up a few inches so that the lorry can pull away. We then reverse an agricultural trailer and put the marble back down. This works well and moderately safely although I suspect this would never be called ‘best practice’.
Imagine my horror to discover that the haulier had loaded the marble onto a lorry with curtain sides and no removable tail gate. The marble in other words would have to be unloaded from the sides. luckily the quarry next door helped and managed to half lift the marble on one side and shovel it into a giant toothed bucket. I hope nothing has broken as the whole procedure was traumatic for the marble and broke lots of edges. I will not be sure of the condition of it until I have it safely in place in my yard. At the moment the blocks are with Nigel my neighbour and we shall bring them down when they have a moment.
Monday, 11 February 2013
Jordan has gone on holiday for three weeks, lucky man. I can now give all my attention to sculpture whilst he is away. I realised today how much time is taken up managing him and making sure that he knows what he is doing. Do not take this as any kind of grumble however; he is keen,and never afraid to ask for help when he is stuck. A great quality in my opinion.
The outside of the bell form is coming on well and I spent some time evening out the sides to try and get it even and without a lump on one side. I am still putting off the decision about the edge. A flat ribbon edge? A sharp edge? Rounded? A crucial decision as I have said before but one I must make soon. I think my marble from Italy will be arriving in the next few days. I shall need to clear lots of room in order to unload it. I will not want to try and move the two six ton blocks once they have been put down.
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
I must now proceed with caution and not let my mind wander onto what is for supper or to get distracted by some conversation on the radio. I have done it before. I cut right through a sculpture by not being cautious. Having said all this however i am not trying to get down to a thin depth. I do not dare go much thinner than about ten centimetres with this crumbly fault ridden ‘bird of paradise’. I now make regular measurements with my homemade wooden callipers. In the photograph you can see the number 13 showing me that at that point I can still remove a further three centimetres. On the large thin sheets of marble that I was working on last summer there was a moment when the surface was covered with a multitude of numbers. This should be easy by comparison. Not cutting a hole in the sculpture is of course only a little technical distraction.Much more important is to make it the best shape possible. This remains fluid in my mind. Uncertain.I shall let the problem wait and hope that things become clear as we progress.
Tuesday, 5 February 2013
The digging is almost over and the inside is fairly smooth. I think it will need finishing by hand with a piece of ‘wet and dry’ sandpaper. This would bring out the colours which are relatively muted at the moment but will become much stronger with each progression through the grades of paper. How strong I want them to be is a difficult question to answer. Normally when working with less ‘glamorous’ stones my tendency is to err on the side of a fairly matt finish. I find too silky a finish distracting from the form which I suppose I consider to be the most important thing in sculpture. With this onyx however it is so ‘glamorous’ I am going to let it shine like some glorious multi coloured bird of paradise. It would seem very churlish to hold it back even if I am more accustomed to less glamour. This fantastical bird is so alien to me, unlike the muted browns that we find on our native birds for instance, or the clothes on our native peoples for that matter. In the picture I have wetted a patch to show how the colour will change.