Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Latest Alabaster Stone Carving - Part 5

This is where I am now.

I have completed my carving, (see photo on right), and now will put in more details of muscles and drapery as I sand starting with 185 grit sandpaper.

The next 5-6 days will be spent sanding and polishing the stone, using from 185 grit to 800 grit wet/dry paper. The next posting will be the final piece.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Latest Alabaster Stone Carving - Part 4

FYI, when I first started carving in stone, I bought the beginners set of soft stone carver’s chisels and rasps. And they did a good job for a few years until I decided I liked carving and wanted to do more.

That’s when I decided to go all in for tools, so I bought several good Italian Milani rasps and chisels in the sizes that I seemed to use the most often.

Personally I don’t like to use power tools although I have an angle grinder and a Dremel when I really need them. A friend asked why since I could do the carving in half the time with power. I am just starting stone carving and I want to feel the stone and find out how to work with it. And yes, I have made a few mistakes. I have several small pieces of stone that started out as a single larger stone until I hit it wrong. So now I have some practice pieces and have learned a bit about the grain of stone and veins of mud. Hey even the master Michelangelo spent several years carving a piece of  marble when he hit it wrong and it shattered enough that he had to get a new stone and start over.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Latest Alabaster Stone Carving - Part 3

During most of my carving time, I lay the clay beside the stone to make carving easier. Now it is just a matter of carving away the stone I don’t need and work on the various planes of the sculpture. Here I use the small 4-tooth chisel to cut closer to the right depths and have better control of what I take off. I also have used the small flat chisel to smooth out the leg. I decided to go in and start to shape the leg and thighs. For this I use the various rasps.

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Latest Alabaster Stone Carving - Part 2

So, here is how I begin. I am mostly an additive sculptor, using clay I can add clay where I want it and move it around. If I make a mistake, I just add or delete clay as needed. Stone sculpting is subtractive, I can only delete the stone, so if make a mistake, well, that’s how abstract art came about.

I always start with a drawing then I make a clay maquette piece, most of the time it is the same size as the final stone. It makes it easier to transfer measurements, from the clay to the stone, but I have used a smaller maquette on larger stone pieces.

Once I get the stone, chances are I have to revise the clay to fit the actual size and usable part of the stone. You can see in the photos from my last post that the stone came with some challenges, but all is good.

The photo on the left shows my first steps with the stone. I draw on the stone with a blue crayon, the profile of the piece from one side. Then I use my crosscut saw, (alabaster is a soft stone that can even be carved with a knife), to cut kerfs in the stone stopping at the profile line. This allows me to quickly get rid of a lot of stone without a lot of effort. 

I then pick up my pointed chisel and knock off the kerfs. Within a few hours, I have taken the stone down to a profile that is easier to work with. Next step I use my calipers and dividers and transfer measurements and drawing from the clay to the stone. On this piece, once I have the drawing on the stone, I start with the forward thrusting leg and again with the pointed chisel start to carve away the stone.

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Latest Alabaster Stone Carving - Part 1

Had a great meeting today with the couple, Steve and Jane, on the stone carving I am creating for them. They purchased two of my bronze sculptures, The Glassblower and The Stone Sculptor. Jane and Steve told me what they were looking for in the stone, so I did a drawing once I got the stone and emailed it to them.

They had some concerns about the drawing which is why we met today. Along with the sketch I sent them, I also showed them the clay model I made. I always do a clay maquette before I start carving as it is easier for me to see what to carve.

They loved the piece, just wanted the figure to be slimmed down a bit through the legs and thighs. Easy enough.

So I have started working on the stone when I got home from our meet. This is my sketch and photo of the stone and clay maquette.

4 sandbags - made from a pair of cut up jeans
1.5 lb. Milani Soft Iron hammer
Steel Chisels from Milani: small & med point,  
                       small & med flat, small 4-tooth
Milani Rasps: 8” - #657, #660, #662, #667, #664
Safety Glasses with 2.5x bifocals
Shock absorbing Veleco fingerless gloves
3M 7093 Double Respirator labeled P100
Aleve – no surprise here
Mario’s Italian White Translucent Alabaster 35lbs.

Blue-Emu Penetrating Gel –
     For my arthritic hands
Clay Maquette of figure
18” Ruler/blue crayon
3M Sandpaper wet/dry: 165-800grit
Kiwi Neutral Paste Wax
Black & Decker Sawhorse
Rubber Floor Pad
Dremel - for tight areas of sanding
Crosscut wood saw