I haven’t uploaded images of my ‘Mother and Daughter’ sculpture, nor my carvings over the summer. But instead of catching up now I shall leap-frog on and post some photos of the early stages of my next commission – a pair of sculptures for the foyer of a hospice.
Here is tantalising glimpse of one of my maquettes…She’s wrapped in moist cloths as I am having to put her aside while I hold a Stone Carving Workshop in my studio this weekend. And below are samples of the red sandstones that I have been considering.
Stone sourcing involves a lot of phone calls to quarries and stone suppliers to check the availability and quality of their stone. Quality and availability can change from month to month, depending on the geology of the patch of ground being quarried. A new seam of rock at the same quarry might yield stone of a radically different appearance – bands of different colours and textures can criss-cross a block, a bed of shells might appear, or dark speckles scattered throughout what was previously pure and uniform. Yet both stones are from the same quarry and are sold under the same name. So asking the stone supplier for a current sample is essential before deciding which stone to use for a new commission.
Having fallen in love with a particular shade of stone the next step is to find out whether that particular stone is quarried in blocks of sufficient size – sometimes a stone might only be available in shallow strips (whereas a few months previously it might have been available in large blocks).
I was very keen to use a warm-coloured stone, with interesting natural qualities, for my new project. I generally tend to avoid Portland (that star-of-availability, consistent texture and vast bed-height) because it can seem too cold and formal, (too ‘noli me tangere’ for my taste) – though for many reasons it is the perfect choice especially for large, outdoor commissions). I don’t like carving sandstone because the dust is bad for the lungs so one has to wear a dust-mask throughout, and the rough grit blunts tools in the bat of an eye. However, it comes in beautiful shades that just can’t be found in limestone. I’ve plumped for a warm, rosy red which sparkles in the sunlight…
Watch this space… :>)