Sunday, 21 May 2017

Chip off the old rock...


So this is quite an old piece now (almost exactly 2 years ago), but I realise I never blogged about it, and might as well store it here on the blog for easier access to photos etc. Also, the blog being what it is, it's a nice way to store the progress of it and how it came about. This is what the finished piece looks like:

Ooh - extra grainy!

Originally I was playing around with some ideas in ZBrush for a more abstract piece which I don't normally do much of, and, given that this ended up looking like a penis wrapped in a vagina, that's probably for the best...
Ooh, a fancy marble render from Keyshot... god I love that app.
Not much to say here, but I thought I'd write something regardless. Gives you something to read at least. I'm nothing if not a giver.

More captiony goodness. This one is probably less informative than the previous one, which in itself is impressive...

So after playing around with shapes and coming up with that, I toddled off to Italy to go to a stone carver by the name of John Taylor, who was giving classes in the beautiful Tuscan town of Pietrasanta, close to Carrara. It's a beautiful little town, I highly recommend going there if interested in sculpture. Lots to see in that regard.

Anyway, John presented me with options to start from, so it was just a case of picking roughly the right shape of stone and having at it.
All lovely options, but only one destined to be destroye.. er... carved by me.

The lucky piece! What were the odds of being chosen? I mean, with 4 to choose from it must have about a million to one, right?

I'd only ever hand carved before, so I set to it with a hammer and chisel and as usual, it was slow going. John eventually took pity on my poor soul and let me have a go with the pneumatic chisel and it's a life changer! That's the one you see at the bottom of the next image.

One life-saver. Presented for your viewing pleasure.

So, as you can see, progress suddenly started going faster, and it's literally a case of 15 minutes later you feel like you've been using this tool all your life. Wonderful stuff! Makes carving fun and quick. The only caveat is that you don't stop to consider your piece as much, as you're working so fast.

Blocking out the form - sans reference. Coz when it's your own piece you just know what it should look like, right? 

Still hacking away at it... still thinking I know where I'm going with this... but look how wide it is, not at all like the original design. At this point I looked around to see who to blame... and was presented with a mirror. Bastards.

But hey, I was loving the unhewn rock texture on the side, REALLY wanted to keep that somehow.

During the carving of this I realised if I were to stick to the original design, I'd be removing so much stone that I'd have to admit to myself (and John), that I essentially started with the wrong piece of stone. It was becoming more and more evident as I went along that the design needed to be adjusted. The idea of making it a washerwoman came to me and a banshee made perfect sense (Scottish folklore has something similar to a banshee called a "bean nighe" or "little washerwoman)". They're generally depicted as old hags whose piercing screams herald the death of someone in the family. Nice. But yeah, BOOM! Suddenly a banshee was my original intention all along. Fooled us all nicely, so I did.

Taking off some of the width, and getting it closer to the right size.

Folds of cloth added for the washerwoman.

Adding a rock for shape contrast and folds of cloth in the front, but look at how unbalanced it is. Eww.

At this point I had managed to keep the uncut rock at the side of the piece, but the cloth was bugging me. It was amateurish and not really working anyway. Something had to be done. Be brutal Seán, be brutal!

The addition of a washing basin seemed in fitting with the overall idea, so although it meant sacrificing the lovely stone on the side, I think it was the right call.

Another view of the front. The overall feeling is a lot better in terms of balance now.
Mucho- sanding later and it's ready for the mantelpiece.

All in all, I'm actually okay with the final piece. I learned a lot and got some shapes I really like, while the ones that don't work aren't obvious enugh to bug me too much. Anyway, hope you like it!


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