Marble Industry Waste: Don’t Crush it – Carve it!

Pisa, Leaning Tower Exit, Google Earth Big Map 7

Carve It – Don’t Crush It

Across the globe there is really plenty of marble to go around,   easily enough to accommodate all sectors of the marble industry; millions and billions of tons of it,  tucked away in massive deposits, deep within unfathomably huge (astroid-sized) mountains. But with the current debate over everything concerning the quarrying of marble now reaching fever pitch,  I thought I would propose an idea that would provide something towards a solution.   Marble is carved worldwide, is it not?   But is only quarried in certain areas.  Why not ship it to areas where each rough block would be quite literally pounced upon by legions of grateful carvers.  With the widespread introduction of Direct Method carving techniques I can see a day when everyone who wished to carve marble would be able to do so, and the thorny issue of marble quarry industry waste might just become a little ‘less prickly’.   For as I am about to explain – much of what is now routinely dismissed as ‘junk’ marble is actually superbly suited to Direct Method carving demands. For once the unpromising, hard,  dusty,  brittle shell is swept away,  the marble just a few inches below the surface is often as perfect as can be.   And I should know,  for I have carved my own little mountain of grungy looking bits and bobs of marble, only to be shocked and amazed by the quite brilliant qualities retained by the body of the stone, as my Collection Series Marble Sculpture serve to illustrate.

No matter how relatively abundant it may appear to be however, I feel strongly that marble should not be extracted using explosive or wasteful methods.   And that, in the process of quarrying, all attempts must be made to grind as little as possible of it to dust.

So vast is our planet’s wealth in marble that, in places, entire mountains are made of the stuff,  as is the case with the most famous marble of all: Carrara, located in the north western tip of Tuscany, itself nestled toward the north western corner of Italy. From what I could gather on my visit the majority of quarries run a very tight ship. The scale of the operation however is quite breathtaking, and I could not help thinking that so much wonderful, marvelous, lovely carving marble was being perhaps shifted aside simply because they had to get rid of it as they strove to get to ‘the good stuff’.  But what I could do with a great deal of the rejected ‘rubble’ would, I think, quite shock and impress even the most seasoned quarry master.

By carving so many grand old Colorado Yule Marble blocks, and discovering for myself the quite amazing condition of the stone within,  I am now more convinced than ever that there are very few marble blocks, howeverflawed‘ in the traditional sense,   that a skilled Direct Method carver could not render into beautiful, imaginative, and  (value added) creative works of art.

Fortunately for us the exacting demands of the counter-top slab industry are not shared by Direct Method sculptors looking to carve exquisite three-dimensional objects of ‘Art… from such a gorgeous material as marble, however ‘seasoned’ it me be. In fact such cracks and imperfections make our job considerably easier, as we are able to recognise, and exploit them, to suit our own needs.

We Direct Method sculptors, with our astute, cunning knowledge, of the stone, are able to exploit the very same faults, seams, intrusions and cracks that render a block unusable for slabbing (90 per cent or so of the industry) and use them to our advantage.  Believe me, there really is very little in the way of marble that we Direct Method carvers cannot utilize.

If I personally cannot fashion an idea around a particular block then I am sure someone will… creating skillful, interesting and rewarding work in the process; and carving-up every last rough block of lovely/valuable stone, and serving in the process to help ensure the good name, and integrity, of the marble industry is maintained for generations to come.

I am not the first professionally trained and experienced stone carver to adopt the Direct method of sculpting by the way; the great Constantine Brancusi pioneered the technique way back at the dawn of the 20th Century. However with the advances in hand-held diamond blade technology of late, along with the superior abrasives available to the sculptor of today, the doors of possibility have been flung wide open, to the point where now quite literally anything (within the realm of structural integrity) is well within a modern-day stone sculptor’s grasp.

Constantine Brancusi, Self Portrait, Direct Method Sculptor.

~~~

~~~

~~~

thanks for visiting martincooney.com

~~~

~~~

~~~

Author martincooney.com, with hand carved Bath College NVQ Level 2 test pieces

~~~

~~~

~~~

ΜäΓτ¡Π

~∫•

~~~

~~~

~~~

~~~

~~~

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

~~~

end