Roman Griffen / Donated / LIMESTONE SCULPTURE By Martin Cooney

LIMESTONE SCULPTURE

Carved By Martin Cooney

Roman Griffen / Kansas Creme Limestone / 26 x 3.5 x 19″

This Sculpture Was Donated to a Worthy Cause

Upon my return to the United States in the autumn of 2003 I set myself the task of carving each and every sort of stone that I supposed I would be expected to carve as a professional banker mason. To my delight I soon discovered Pine’s Stone down the road at the Cattle Creek turn off on Highway 82 between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. And what a delight their stone yard turned out to be.

The stone yard at Birdhaven Studio, Woody Creek, Colorado

Suddenly I was able to get my hands upon a huge amount of material as I took away what they considered to be pretty much useless merchandise. In fact at one point I recall hopping into their large waste container and pitching juicy looking pieces of random stone over the side, and in the process practically filling my flatbed Ford F350 to the rails with all sorts of stone, in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

And so, in order to discover just what was what when it came to my new cast of characters I decided to carve a series of sculptures to explore precisely which stones where most suitable to what applications.

Winterset Limestone: warm as toast, tough as nails.

What I was to discover was that there were two exceptional limestones to be had that were equally ideal in none overlapping credentials. On the one hand there was the limestone that thinks its a sandstone called Winterset – a tough and rugged stone that oft times proves hard as nails, and looks completely at home in nature and natural surroundings. And then there is Kansas Creme, which as the name might imply, suggests nothing of the Winterset tough nut mentality, and instead offers a virtual blank canvas on which to carve, with minimal intrusion/exclusion activity to divert the eye.

Kansas Creme Limestone: Soft and pliable to carve, hardens considerably in time with a yellowish patina.

And so, in order to test this mysterious Kansas Creme’s credentials I set about mapping out a full-sized griffen that would test the limits of the stone with some deep and some very shallow bas relief carving technique. The result as you can see affirms a very pliable and yet sharp edged stone, which down through the years stayed as bright and sharp edged as could be.

Not even the vigors of the Birdhaven Studio Sculpture Garden’s extreme extremes of blistering summer sun and sub zero winter nights could nip and pick away at the edges nor nibble away at the slightly carved feathered surface.

In fact the stone seemed to get stronger and harder as the years went on, which is not an unusual feature of the  softer, lighter and more consistent limestones that I carved in England. French limestone for instance has very similar characteristics to Kansas Creme in my opinion, or rather experience.

I’m sure by now that my Roman Griffen is hard as nails given that the last I heard he was ensconced gloriously over the gateway to a replica Roman fort somewhere in Texas, but I have yet to hear conformation. However, what a wonderful image those words put into my mind, for top center above the entrance to a Roman Fort is pretty much exactly where I would wish this, one of my favorite,  of my limestone sculptures to date: January 13, 2020.

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LIMESTONE SCULPTURE

Carved By Martin Cooney

Roman Griffen / Kansas Creme Limestone / 26 x 3.5 x 19″

This Sculpture Was Donated to a Worthy Cause

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