Sunday, December 19, 2010

lovers and ice

It has remained below freezing for almost the entire week, so I've spent most of my time in the warm clay studio. Monday, I made this small model of 2 lovers.

I began work on a much larger 1/4 scale model, as the first model was on a 1/9 scale. I only had time this week to block in the basic shapes. This clay piece will need LOTS of work before it will become a working model.

It is intended to be carved into this piece of Indiana Limestone. The stone would have to be stood up on its flat end before carving this particular design.

The guys from JBB, inc. fought the freezing temperatures and ice-covered roads to return to the studio and finish installing the plumbing and hooking up a tub / shower. Meg caught on camera the only moment when I was actually helpful.

Tuesday morning, it was 1 degree below zero. So, Meg grabbed the camera and went outside to photograph the big ice crystals that had formed in the extreme cold. I think this looks like a fish (Carp) with ice crystal fins...

Then, we had a good, old-fashioned ice storm. It didn't involve a week of power outages, like last year, but still lots of fun. (photo Meg White)

Ice on Rose Hips. (photo Meg White)

Ice on Wild Grapes. (photo Meg White)
Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Neighbors and Dragons

It remained below the freezing point for most of the week. So, I stayed in the clay studio. I did a life-size clay head study of our neighbor, Alice Kimble. I had this picture of Alice to go by, but it's always better to work from life, if you get the chance.

The profile view shows that there is room for improvements. Using photoshop to compare, like this, is a great tool. you can click 'view' and check 'grid' - the grids will tell you exactly where you are off.

The rest of the week was spent on this clay model of a dragon.

There is a stone that measures 44" high by 24" x 16", into which I could carve this design. It's a real departure from my regular work, so I'm not sure if I'll actually make this piece. I had fun making the clay model, anyway.

A couple of important events this week: Sharon Receveur's book on Bernheim Arboretum is out in bookstores. It features 2 pictures of Meg's stone sculpture "Emerging". She'll post images and more on her blog (link in top right corner). Also, there are great pictures of Paul Fields working on his large "snail" that is at Bernheim. The other important event this week is that it looks like I've sold my Monk sculpture. It will find a new home near Cincinnati. I'll post more, as this progresses.

Monday, the guys from Jbb, inc. returned to "stub in" the plumbing of the new addition. Mike Mitcham showed me this Bible that he carved to commemorate the life of his recently deceased brother. It is made from a piece of Kentucky limestone that he found, and the cross is made from a piece of Alabama marble that I gave him. This is Mike's second stone project - I hope that we'll be seeing more pieces from him soon.

It's been snowing all day! Meg snapped this shot of a snow flake caught on a spider's web.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gargoyle vs Grotesque

The temperatures dropped below the freezing mark by mid-week, so I retreated to the warmth of the clay studio. I wanted to make a Gargoyle, and I came up with this design. It reminds me of the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz.

Meg pointed out to me that this is a "Grotesque", which is a non-functional sculpture of a fantastic creature. A true Gargoyle spouts rain water, directed from the roof. (I learn something every day.)

This is the stone block that I want to carve the piece into. It measures approximately 3' x 2' x 1-1/2' and weighs about 1,200 lbs.

I made a little more progress on the granite hand bench, before the temperatures dropped. I flipped the piece upside down, to drill a mounting hole and refine the bottom.

The guys with Roof Master Builders 'zipped up' the new addition before the snow started flying. The next step is windows and doors and metal siding.

Saturday, we went to the open house and Christmas sale at Charlie Oldham's rock shop. This picture that Meg took points up the contrast between the cheery warmth inside vs the bleak wintery cold outside.

Charlie has a great place, that he built himself - one of the best looking rock shops that I've ever seen. He's retired from a long career as geologist for the state of Kentucky. If I have a rock question, Charlie has the answer.

While I looked for specimens to add to my collection, we listened to homemade music from dulcimers. A great way to spend a snowy afternoon!

We finished the day out by attending the opening of the new location for Studio Works (on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Bardstown Road). We have a friend, Al Goreman, who works there. In fact, these are 2 of his creations from found objects that he collects at the Falls of the Ohio. Check out his blog called Artist at Exit 0.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving week

Thanksgiving was this week, but these Wild Turkeys at the studio weren't on anybody's table.

This is the progress, as seen from the front view, of my granite hand sculpture.

This is how the back side of the sculpture looked at the end of this week. You can see the clay model in the top left of the picture.

The price of progress. Six diamond blades have 'bit the dust' so far. Granite burns them up fairly fast.

The temperatures have turned cold. Meg snapped this shot of frost crystals from a freezing fog up at the studio this morning.

Work continued on the addition to the clay studio. After JBB, Inc. finished roughing in the plumbing and putting in the septic system, it was Roofmasters turn to show up. They poured the concrete floor and have begun framing up the walls.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Granite hand-shaped bench and new septic system

I've spent most of this week working on the granite sculpture entitled "The Gift". This is a scale plasticine clay model (covered in granite dust) of what I will be carving in granite.

Granite is so hard that it burns up diamond blades like crazy - which is real expensive. I've been using a technique of sawing parallel cuts to move stone efficiently, maximizing the amount of stone that can be removed per wear on diamond blades. By doing this, I was able to get close to the finished form in a relatively short time.

Then, I use the diamond blade to shave off layers of stone to slowly form the sculpture. After 2 weeks of work, you can already see the shape of the design beginning to emerge.

Thursday, work commenced on the new bathroom and kitchenette that we're adding to the back side of the clay studio. This is Mike Mitcham, who works for JBB, inc. of Hardinsburg.

By the end of a long day, he had the plumbing roughed in and finished digging the hole for the septic tank. He's scraping a sandstone ledge - that'll be as far as we can dig (without dynamite).

The next morning, they put in the lateral line. B.J. is using a wood jack to hold the line in place while Mike places the large gravel.

The inspector came out, and everything passed. While Mike's lunch warmed up on his truck dashboard heater, he asked, "Want to see a trick?"

"Do you think I can pick up that quarter with the backhoe?"

We'll have to catch this on video, and post it on youtube. (All photos copyright Meg White).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

one thousand years: out with the old, in with the new

I finished the Trappist Monk stone sculpture entitled "One Thousand Years". I power washed the piece and moved it into the sculpture garden.

This sculpture sort of 'evolved' as I carved it. It ended up different from my original design, sometimes you just have to 'go with the flow'. I like the piece; I think it has a charm and appeal all of its own.

I also found time to create this floral birdfeeder. It is carved from 4 pieces of Indiana Limestone. The 2 flower-shaped vessels are held in place by fiberglas pins. They can be removed for easy cleaning. The stem is fastened to the base with a threaded stainless-steel pin. It can be unfastened, making it easy to move. It measures 29"H x 18" x 15" and sells for $800.00.

I've begun work on a large granite sculpture of a hand. It's called "The Gift" and could function as a memorial, as well as a water feature or garden sculpture. It will be carved from a single piece of Georgia Granite measuring 44" long by 24" wide by 18" high.

The first task involved drilling and splitting off a piece of granite large enough for the design. (photo Meg White)

Then, I moved the piece of stone into the studio.

Casualties of war. I've hardly begun the new project, and broken tools are already piling up. A hammer (made in China) and a carbide tipped drill bit have 'bit the dust'.

Tuesday morning, we noticed new aluminum power line had been rolled out along the 1/2 mile road leading back to our studio. (photo Meg White)

They had finished installing the new line by lunchtime. This new line is replacing copper wires (circa 1945) that used to supply our power. It's all good! (all photos copyright Meg White)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I've made a little more progress on the Trappist Monk stone sculpture entitled "One Thousand Years".

This is the view from the other side. I've roughed in the cord ends of the rope belt. There's plenty more work to be done before it is finished. Originally, I wanted to do a rough and quick 'sketchy' version of a monk, but I kept working on the piece, making improvements. I've invested a LOT more time in this piece than I intended.

I took some time off from the Monk project and made this Tennessee Pink Marble fountain bubbler.

We went to 2 art openings in the last 2 weeks. Mike Ratterman has a great show up at Bellarmine (we forgot the camera). This picture is from the Pyro Gallery opening that featured sculptures by Al Nelson and Bob Lockhart.

City lights with full moon. Meg snapped this shot on the way to Al and Bob's opening. (photo copyright Meg White).

Meg and I went to Tom and Claire Burkhart's 20th Anniversary party out at their farm near Charlestown. They had this bluegrass band, and a bunch of great food (and beer, of course).

We had another opportunity to hunt Jr.'s secret arrowhead patch. This time, we were accompanyed by Meg and Jr.'s wife, Connie. "find anything?"
"Me neither".

We went to McMillen's Halloween party. Meg has a lot more pictures from that event on her blog. (The link is in the right top corner). We also had a visit from David Schwartz and his nephew and niece at our studio on his 86th birthday. Happy birthday David!

Meg snapped this shot of a bug checking itself out in a mirror. (great antennas!)