Sunday, June 6, 2010

Demeter parting the night part 1

I took these pics while I was carving Demeter last year and held them in reserve until now. A little back story, for those who don't know who Demeter is - In Greek Legend Demeter was the Goddess of growing things. Her daughter Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and was taken to live in the Underworld. Demeter searched the earth for her daughter, even hunting for her when it was night. In the myth, she carried a lamp, but here I will have her parting the night with her arms in her search. The rest of the story - when she can't find Persephone, Demeter is so distraught that she no longer cares for the earth, and there is unending winter. Zeus appeals to Hades to return Persephone so that spring will return. Hades allows Persephone to return to earth, but, as she has eaten pomegranate seeds while in the underworld, she must return there for part of each year. That is why we have winter - according to myth.

This was my initial design for Demeter, sketched on a piece of stone cut from the large block for the reading girl. There was not enough 'meat' for the design to work in this particular stone, so I had to find another piece.

I have found the stone and we are loading it onto the truck to take it into the studio area.

The stone is wider than the original piece that I wanted to use. Also, the stone is thicker on the right side. So, I decide to make the figure larger, and crouched more, to utilize the extra mass of the stone. Also, I flipped the design, making it a mirror image to my original concept. There are various areas (such as the chainsaw cut marks on the left) that will work better with the figure positioned on the right.

I have made the initial cuts in the stone using an angle grinder.

I use a hammer to tap off the cut stone.

I have cut the stone back to a rough profile of the piece.

I begin removing stone from under the face and from the left arm.

I carve the face first. When carving direct, I like to establish the face first, and then work the rest of the figure in. I leave areas thick as the forms can in effect "float" . I work from the nose back and slowly determine where the form should be as I work. The arm is roughly sketched in using a masonry blade on an angle grinder

I use crayon marks (straight down the center of the face, with perpendicular lines for the eyes, mouth, etc.) to make sure the face is symmetrical.

I make vertical cuts under the arm using an angle grinder. I use a hammer and chisel to remove the stone.

I am making rudimentary movements in the stone, determining the position of the left leg and begining to block in the drapery.

I have defined the neck, but the right arm is far too low. The arm pit of the left arm is too low as well.

I am cutting the stone down to the outside of the hip, defining the waist and removing stone beneath the right arm.
The shoulder is still too wide, and the arm too far out. I will take the arm back under the stone.

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