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Creating a Sculpture

(greatly simplified)

Before setting tool to stone, certain steps best be taken to ensure a smooth process.

-Concept 1
Is the idea of what to carve already set in your mind? Then finding the right stone for

the project is the next step. Consider the type of stone to fit your picture -color, with grain or without, dark or light feel to it…

-Concept 2
Will the stone be obtained first, then the shape/concept of the sculpture to be drawn from the

stone itself?

Either way (process #1 or #2), to sit with the stone and allow it to speak to you, at the beginning and at intervals throughout, is important in establishing a feel for and connection with the material itself.

-Two-dimensional aid
Draw a picture and/or gather photos of something similar

-Three-dimensional aid
Create a clay model (maquette)—this will help provide a view from any angle, that will be

needed when pulling the shape from the stone.
I find this to be a frustrating yet useful part of the process. The maquette aways looks poorly

to me, never reaching to the standard I aim for (witness the photos of the maquette of “Still Hunters”), it is but a step in a process.

-Select a side or front view, make an outline drawing, then remove all of the material, directly back from that drawing, in a straight line. Do not waver in or out. Just remove all but the stone contained within that outline.

-Turn the started sculpture 90° to one direction or the other, and repeat the process. Draw an outline (silhouette) of the shape from this direction (see rough-cutting photo of “Still Hunters”)

-Begin to take off the many sharp angles that now exist

-Often at this point, as the shape begins to emerge, direction on how to proceed will come from the stone, the tools, and from the sculptor (hands, eyes, heart, mind…)

-Once the shape is finalized, the process of sanding is at hand. The sculptures in the enclosed photos were sanded with five different levels of sandpaper, from 60 grit to 1200 grit. A polish was then applied (bowling alley wax), giving the final luster to the sculpture, and allowing hands to safely touch the stone—a sensuous experience.

PS None of these steps are quick!

Creating the Sculpting Studio 1999

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