Sunday, 16 November 2014

Carrara - What a marble-ous place...

So this year I decided to go on a sculpture holiday. Carrara was suggested and I found a course on line with the amazing sculptor Usama Al Nassar (you can check out the website here: 

I only had 5 days, so the pressure was on from the start, but Usama was great and progress was quick. The final result is here, which I must admit to being relatively pleased with, especially given the time constraints and because of the fact it was my first sculpture in marble and only my second in stone (the first was limestone). There are several types of Carrara marble, this particular piece was described as having "Medium hardness". The harder stuff will hold sharper detail again, but man, if this is medium, I'd hate to be going at the hard stuff without a pneumatic chisel. 
Anyway, here's the final result:

You've got some neck showing your face around here....

Work in progress stuff!

As the title oh-so-subtly hints at, if you're interested in the work as it progressed you can see some of the images I took along the way below. Marble is REALLY hard, and the effort required to hack away at it is surprising to say the least. Here's a before and after from the first day.

Day 1 morning - The selected starting piece of marble, before the heavy smacking with a sharp chisel...

Day 1 evening - After a day's worth of hacking away; now you now how slow it is! Each little chip requires a strong blow of the hammer. It takes it out of you! (he said, flexing his newly developed popeye-esque forearms)

Day 2 - Progress by the end of the day, a face starting to emerge. For some reason this image reminds me of those faces on the moon that people always claim to see. Not that that means anything... was just sayin' is all.

Day 3 - Starting to get some real forms blocked in now. Though she's got the Princess Lea thing going on... Unavoidable. I'm not a geek. 

Day 4 - Smoothing starts, details added, neck as yet unfinished. It was just way too high and had been bugging both myself and Usama for some time, so we decided to remove a lot of it by pushing it back and starting again.

Day 5 - after sanding, sanding, sanding using first rasps and then sandpaper, the beauty of the stone starts to become a lot more apparent. I only went to a 180 grain of sandpaper, and apparently it's possible to go higher and even add wax for high sheen polishes, but there wasn't time. Still, running your hands over it has a lovely feel to it. At times the light got really strong, especially towards the end of the day, and that harsher light really helped see the shapes. I wish I could have had it all the time.

The proud parent, after birthing his first ... woah, hold on a second, that doesn't sound right at all!

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