Take A Halloween Stroll Through the Garden and Workshop Yard

October 31, 2013

Come, let’s take a leisurely stroll through the Sculpture Garden

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It’s not often I find myself envious of painters but with winter now flashing its teeth in earnest I can but look on with a wistful sigh as they replenish their stocks of paint and canvas via a quick trip to their favorite art supply store, or more likely these days, with the click of a mouse.

But for we stone sculptors replenishment isn’t quite as straightforward, and most certainly demands a good deal more energy and endeavor.

As the video announced, I am about to embark on a major body of work: The 2013/14 Winter Collection, and so currently find myself in the process of gathering stone. As with The Maiden Collection I will carve a finite number of sculptures, and each one will have its own Serial Number cut into the underside of its base. However they will be carved from not one but several slabs of marble. But as with The Maiden Collection they will all be split, rather than cut, in order to further explore the fascinating collaborative possibilities presented by working with, as opposed to against, the stone.

Garden Workshop Tour, Halloween 2013, Catwalk awaits her transformation outside the Birdhaven Studio Workshop, Woody Creek COI actually do not envy the painters, really, I don’t. In fact I really love this stage of the process. I like to get to know and understand a piece of stone, particularly marble, before laying a tool upon it. Fleeting first impressions morph into a master plan in the blink of an eye. What may appear at first sight to be an odd collection of irregular lumps of rock soon begin to reveal themselves through a long procession of tiny but enlightening discoveries – a glint of light here, a shadow there, and before long their destiny is complete. Once I have caught a glimpse of the sculpture lying beneath the rough surface my challenge is then to reveal it in all it’s glory… to attempt to do justice to a piece of marble many tens of millions of years in the making.

Garden Workshop Tour, Halloween 2013, A section of Catwalk's midriff awaiting to be carved in the Birdhaven Studio Workshop, Woody Creek CO

No matter how many times I split stone with plug and feathers I never lose the thrill of witnessing the solid slab crack and fall away as I rap on the wedges with my steel headed hammer, the iron ringing out a tune that speaks of pressures and stresses deep within the marble. Eventually the incredible force applied by the row of merciless wedges proves overwhelming; and after a few superficial surface cracks a single blow inevitably delivers the knock out punch; the sheer weight of the marble shears the two new faces apart with a dramatic and lightening-fast jolt – the slab is cleft in two!

Two more 1314 Winter Collection rough blocks await their transformation outside Birdhaven's Studio Workshop, Woody Creek CO

One by one each block will work its way along the line, each will have its inner sculpture released, but only once I have had sufficient time in which to get to know and understand it. Day after day I’ll see it, look at it, stare at it… catch a quick glance as I peek up from the piece I am carving. I’ll ponder its shape, its markings, take note of the veining, until finally by the time I’m gazing at it on my work banker I’ll have a clear picture of the sculpture I’m attempting excavate. Of course, there’s no guarantee it will turn out the way I see it in my mind’s eye – but that’s where the collaboration with the stone comes in, I must lend my trust  to forces of which I have only scant knowledge. However I have to say it’s a trust that has yet to end in disappointment.

The Mountains of Moab practically carved themselves, Garden Workshop Tour, Halloween 2013

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The Mountains of Moab, in blue, Garden Workshop Tour, Halloween 2013

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The Mountains of Moab, Garden Workshop Tour, Halloween 2013

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The Mountains of Moab, Garden Workshop Tour, Halloween 2013

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The Mountains of Moab, Garden Workshop Tour, Halloween 2013

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View from the porch, Garden Workshop Tour, Halloween 2013

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thanks for visiting martincooney.com

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bye for now

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ΛΛ∀ℜ⊥¡η

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