Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Learning stone sculpture with my dad

A couple of weekends ago I was at my favourite little pub, The Square and Compass. It was walking past the back yard with all the stone stacked ready for their Stone Sculpture weekend  that inspired me to take a trip home and learn from my Dad.

I have been wanting to have a go at stone carving for years, having watched my dad chip away for some time now. I love the sound of his 78's whirling on the record player with the familiar constant sound of his hammer hitting a stone that in time will evolve into one of his characterful forms. I had the idea of making a simple pear shaped sleeping Dachshund, but like any new artistic endeavour things changed a little.

The process of  building things up from clay I am used to so I  was unsure how I would take to  chipping away. The process is physical and very rewarding. How a raw shapeless stone, jagged and frayed can with some grease and vision turn into something so smooth and tactile, is amazing. No wonder people get hooked, I could happily spend my days making, throwing clay, chipping, sanding, carving.

My dad is my biggest artistic inspiration, self taught and hungry to learn from his favourite artists. He has always gone out of his way to inspire us and evoke a sense of curiosity and wonder. We were never too young to hold a hammer, a saw, a paint brush. For this I love him dearly! x

To begin with I used the mallet and these lovely chunky chisels to get the weight of the stone of. 
This is the tricky bit as you don't want to break the stone.

Dad used his stone grinder to get the raw shape I wanted 

By sun down it was beginning to take shape, early that day the stone cracked in half but left a perfect sleeping dog shape. So my original idea morphed into a sleeping spaniel, I didn't mind at all. It is true the stone will tell you what it wants to be in the end. 

Once the initial carving has been completed the next stage is sanding and smoothing down the edges. With water and lots of elbow grease the stones true colours raise to the surface, and you begin to get the natural shine of the stone. 

Pit stop during the rain - Listening to 78 of Bringing It All Back Home

I am so happy with my peaceful sleeping dog, I will ensure that it is patted for years to come

Here are a few of my dads lovely sculptures that settle in our house and give us much cheer! 

Thank you dad - All my love

Gem x

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