Friday, June 6, 2014

Beginning the blocking of the American Lion for University of Alaska Anchorage

I begin the sculpture by taking stone from the middle section of the block.  This is where the Lion will be located.  I use a large angle grinder and make slices in the stone cutting across the face of the block.  I am able to make a 3" deep cut with the diamond wheel, cutting the lower half of the block from ground level.  I will use a bench to cut the upper sections.  I am essentially slicing off sections of stone and while I can make a 3" deep cut, each slice needs to be no more than 2" as I will remove each slice by tapping it with an engineers hammer. 

Don has taken a picture of me on the bench making a cut in the stone.

And here I am after tapping off the slice of stone.  I try to move the stone away from the base of the block - I try, but ultimately end up with huge piles of stone that need to be carted away.

Here are the piles of stone I was referring to.  In this photo you can see I have begun to remove stone from the back of the block.

After several passes I am down to the outside dimensions of the Lion.  I draw on a simple outline of where I can safely remove stone.

Using the same slicing technique I remove area from under the tail of the big cat.

Using cross hatching and notes, I lay out areas that need to be removed and others that need to stay.  I stay well clear of vital areas - the foot and head - in case I need to make adjustments later.  This is a hold over from the days I used to carve direct into a stone (some of which was not the greatest quality) and would encounter a crystal pocket in the stone which would necessitate moving an entire section elsewhere (usually back into the stone.)

For removing areas under the chin I change directions, cutting into the block with the grinder.  I am also making the cuts very narrow so that the areas will break more cleanly.  I place a chisel between these cuts and tap them apart with my hammer.

I repeat the cutting technique descibed above in the area above the head and across the body of the cat.

The back leg (on left) and head are beginning to take shape.  Well, I can see it if no one else can.

This is a sculpture I am finishing up for this year's Yew Dell Sculpture show in Crestwood, KY.  She is entitled "Lifting the Veil" and is carved from Sylacauga Alabama Marble. 

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