Shades of Autumn, 2014
Woody Creek, Colorado
Late October, 2014
What a glorious time of the year! The days are still quite warm, reasonably long, and imbued with a clear, vivid light… ideal weather for the sculpting of stone. And so… how very happy I am as I now set about carving the most productive and enthralling phase of the ‘Autumn of 14 Collection of Colorado Yule Marble Sculpture’, my current body of work and third in the series of finite collections.
Over the past decade I have carved stone in all sorts of weather, in all sorts of conditions, from raging blizzards and thigh-high snow, to the burning charbroiling heat of the blistering Colorado sun, but at no time of year does the sculpting process here in Woody Creek adopt a more conciliatory, nay idyllic, aspect than the picture perfect postcard days we enjoy practically throughout the month of October.
For as long as winter contents itself by stomping impatiently in the wings we here in the valley are free to re-live and savor all of the lovely summery weather we have so very recently enjoyed… are still enjoying in fact.
So it it is with life, and so it is with sculpture. While winter gales may indeed be lurking just around the corner I find myself repeatedly revisiting the crystal clear visions of Italy (“EAT-tal-EE”) and the the lazy hazy days of June of this very year, when I suddenly, unexpectedly and quite delightfully, found myself lost in the paradise of San Rocchino’s peaceful corner of the Earth, tucked away in the verdant vine, olive and densely wooded hills above Lucca.
I made it a point to swirl around the pool, or bowl if you like.. at various times of the day practically every day of my stay throughout the month, and with the water to myself, I would blissfully float and swim, swim and float… gazing up at an ever revolving sky through the relaxing veil of the world’s darkest and most relaxing wraparound sunglasses.
Propelled by the underwater jets of the pool’s impressive filtration system round and round and round I would go, with the sky, the valley, the whole world slowly spinning into and out of view. It was a magnificent sensation: Meditational ‘medicine’ of the highest order for the body and mind, not to mention… just sheer unadulterated bliss.
A pool, a bowl, a basin, a vessel, a vase, a platter… the name matters not in my book, it’s their shape that intrigues me. I can assure you that the irony was not lost on me upon the stark realization that I had traveled all the way to Italy, to Pietrasanta no less – the undisputed home of western sculpture, searching for answers to questions that now became perfectly clear as I gazed up at the beautiful blue sky from the surface waters of San Rocchino’s impressively large and altogether magnificent pool. Buoyed by air and water alone I was blissfully free to swirl, float and ‘meditate’ on many a weighty issue, mulling them over one at a time until finally a decision, a direction or solution made itself clear.
So as you see, bowls always seem able to capture my attention. They featured predominantly in my first collection, ‘The Maiden’, and in many ways proved a crucial development as I strove to explore, refine and ‘push the envelope’ of my own particular brand of Curvilinear Marble Sculpture carving technique.
And while the role of the bowl within the ‘1314 Winter Collection’ was certainly diminished somewhat by the sudden and dramatic appearance of the Standing Stone Circle their contribution was quite powerfully upheld by a trio of rather large and extremely bold vessels in the form of ‘Along the Way’, ‘On the Cusp’ and ‘Lemonworld’. Fittingly, and in keeping with the spirit of the larger-than-life, rugged, deep mid-winter collection… these three sculptures proved to be some of the largest, toughest and most imposing bowls I have ever carved.
However, with my current body of work, the ‘Autumn of 14 Collection’ I already detect a re-emergence of the ‘vessel’ as a central theme as I set about exploring the possibilities of the bowl as a pool of water.
I suppose it’s worth remembering at this point that when I first set my mind to carving marble bowls I purposefully did not apply a tight, shiny, waterproof surface as I imagined them to be far too dainty and vulnerable to be filled with water, and to be fair I certainly didn’t think of them with such earthly duties in mind – these, the first wave of micro-thin, hand carved marble bowls were sculpted (with one or two notable exceptions) as pure adornments. “Jewelry for the Home”.
A month or two from now the ‘Autumn of 14 Collection’ will be complete and will take it’s place alongside it’s predecessors; ‘The Maiden’ and the ‘1314 Winter’ Collections. Exactly how this new body of work will turn out I have no way of knowing but undoubtedly it will exhibit the hallmarks of not only the thoughts and images whirling around my head at the time of carving but the conditions, climate and temperature wherein it was carved. At the moment, with conditions and a thermometer more reminiscent of July than January I find its all “bowls and water, pools and sunshine”, but with Halloween comes the writing on the wall for these most halcyon of days, for along with the witches and spooks, goblins and ghouls come the much more menacing and ominous long-fingered tentacles of Old Jack Frost himself, and around these parts “Ol’ Jack” is not known to pull his punches.
But should you need any convincing as to the realities brought about by the four distinctly divergent seasons here in Woody Creek, Colorado, simply take a quick look at the near arctic conditions that often prevailed during long stretches of the ‘1314 Winter Collection’ carving process.
This time around I will be giving the brutal winter months a miss as far as carving is concerned. On completion of the Autumn Collection I intend to take time to replenish physically and mentally by recording life here in the Roaring Fork Valley through a series of line drawings centered around the extensive Nordic ski trails that criss-cross Pitkin County.
And so, finally… in the coming days I’ll be releasing the Home Page for each of my two most recent hand carved marble bowls: ‘San Rocchino’ and ‘No Strings Attached’. These should serve to shed a little light on my motivation to carve each one, along with extensive photo documentation and all relevant details.
Thanks for visiting martincooney.com
Cheers for Now !