Passionate Learning: Sculpture Projects
This is the first piece I set hammer and chisel to. Though it may look simple (it is a simple shape), it proved to be quite challenging. As mentioned in the earlier discussion about stone carving, two of the most difficult tasks were obtaining a very flat surface, and attaining symmetry, in this case from multiple angles. Then there is the overall grace of the shape to consider. The practice pieces of the various students looked quite different. My piece is on the right. From here I tackled the large Pink Alabaster stone, with the goal of turning it into an Angel. Big leap! I accepted whatever guidance I could.
Material: Pink Alabaster
In the collection of Richard Douglass and Etta Weyerdolce
This sculpture was the first piece I carved after the initial practice-piece pictured above. There was much learning going on with this sculpture, as most of the techniques were still unknown to me. The hair alone took days to figure out how to get the effect I wanted, and many more days to accomplish it. But I was happy—learning so much so fast.
Tony had picked up pieces of stone for the interested students when he was in New York City, at a stone dealer. When he brought the Pink Marble stone for me he said, “Glenn, I got a really good deal. It was only $1 per pound.” “Great,” I replied. “How many pounds is it?” “250 pounds”, was his response.
I gulped – smiled – expressed my thanks – and got to work. This would be an expensive experiment—especially for a first piece of work. I hoped it would not be a disaster.
BTW It doesn’t weigh 250 lbs anymore—but it is still seriously heavy.
In the collection of Cici and James Earl Jones.
This beautiful green stone was given to my teacher who passed it on to me. “A friend found it in New York State somewhere”, he said. I was never able to find another piece like it. The rich, rich green filled with bursts of rust-red became brilliant upon sanding and polishing.
James told me that he bought this sculpture in part to honor his grandmother who was of Choctaw and Cherokee, as well as African, heritage.
Material: African Wonderstone
Inspired by the stillness of cats—who can so quickly shift from supreme stillness to near lightning action. And when they are at rest, they are completely at rest—when in action, that is all that they do. What we might learn from them, as humans, would be profound, if we were to take on even a portion of their presence in each moment.
Dragon-flies I have always loved to watch dart and weave, in the sandy spot at the intermittent stream in the back woods. As a child there came a time when I was brave enough to venture there to watch them, to soar with them, to appreciate this very different life-species.
Limestone is most often an organic sedimentary rock that forms from the accumulation of shell, coral, algal and other debris that floats to the bottom of shallow ocean water. Limestone can range widely in its hardness and that used for carving is usually an easier-to-carve variety.
Material: Vermont Marble
This piece measures 6” X 12” X 5” in height
The marble for this carving (it is a single piece of stone) is a found piece. I had learned of an abandoned marble quarry in eastern Vermont and visited there one day to see what I could find. (imagine the plate tectonics that would position a wealth of marble, formed at the bottom of an ocean, in the mountains of Vermont, far from any current ocean)
The stone is beautiful, as can be seen in the photograph—rich deep grain, vibrant contrast. The problem with this stone is that it is from a mine that was closed a century ago, and the marble sat there exposed to the sun for a hundred years. It lost integrity. When I tried carving a hand with open fingers, the fingers kept breaking off. When I made the carving with the fingers attached together side be side it held together okay.
The integrity of this marble table is fine, though it continued to be a hard stone to work, literally. Felt was glued to the bottom of the feet to protect the surfaces it would be placed on.
Material: Persian Onyx
Dawn, the birth of sunlight. Dawn, the birth of time. The layered strata of this earth colored stone, Persian Onyx, is perfect for this representation of the universal mother, of Mother Earth. This is a dedication to the fullness of mother, in its millions of forms crawling, walking, swimming, flying this planet—especially to the many species of mother that are going extinct every day.
With this sculpture I followed the stone. I had the piece, with no concept in mind of what to create with it. As I sat at different times, and observed it from different angles and different moods, the picture began to emerge. It further came to life as I molded the clay maquette as a model.
When nearly finished a friend saw it and said, “It reminds me of ‘The Kiss’ by Rodin”. He was the first person to see it and he immediately told me the name I had already given it in my mind. Cool!
Material: Black Alabaster
What is the meaning of doubt? How does it link with double? So close in spelling there must be a connection, an overlap in meaning and/or derivation. To doubt is to be of two minds. With a mind divided it can be difficult to take clear action, to think with clarity, to accept possibilities. Doubt can prevent an open mind or open heart, and even weaken the potential strengths of entire realms such as science, religion, and education.
And yet we hear phrases such as “Two heads are better than one”. How is this different? This represents two minds working in collaboration, while doubt represents one mind working against itself. A considerable difference.
Is doubt always a negative influence as is presented above? When it takes the form of skepticism it could be helpful or hurtful (to me the observer). In the form of caution, where what is perceived is not immediately accepted of rejected, but observed objectively, then it can be of great value.
We can, as well, see the beauty of the stone itself, and of the image of the six-foot rattlesnake presented here. Some viewers recoil a bit at the shape. Others find great beauty and grace there. Where do you find yourself along this spectrum?
Material: Mystery (very hard stone)