I am spending my weekend teaching stone carving, a lot of the students are new to the material and or the idea of carving a form. Enthusiasm for it seems easily passed on as I am talking away and bombarding everybody with my ideas on the subject matter, hoping not to leave students bewildered. Not only does it light up new enthusiasm in myself, I also want to pass on the techniques that have become of value to me. So I sat here last night drawing up ideas for the little piece I started myself whilst teaching. It is good for me, without the pressure of feeling that to much of the material has been removed whilst still not knowing where I am going, to draw and be playful with ideas, reminding myself it is not about shaping a concrete form but more the idea of a form and here are my ideas for today.
“Art in the Garden” has been cancelled, there is no turning back, like before it means to be be flexible and adapt, accepting that life rarely works out as planned, what unfolds instead makes somehow sense. I am not in control, even if I kid myself that I am…enough of philosophical thoughts on “how to cope with disappointment”. I have been carving along on “stone 1”, nearing completion, many weeks ago I mentioned the bliss of starting to see forms emerge, a similar satisfaction is the tweaking of forms at the end, bringing out the best in forms and their connection between each other, reflecting constantly the flow inside the mass and adjusting the outer visible form to internal form movement. As you can see on the image below I started to sand down some of the form, discovering bright, bright orange veins running through the stone. It is hard to keep positive, encouraging myself that it is worth spending hours in dust, noise and isolation for the sake of form…looking at the image I am proud of what has happened, not as planned but hey with that I am back to where I started…I am not in control.Read more
Spend a few days at “The Sheds” in Whiltshire, friends of mine have created a amazing home for their family, a oasis of creativity, whenever I had the opportunity to stay with them, surrounded by original artwork and their deep passion for art, encouraging and supporting artists…I return with the belief that what I am doing has a place, is important for me to persude. I was teaching a stone carving course there and it could not have been different to the weekend in March when we had some snow at the Rococo Garden. We were carving in blazing heat all weekend long, with the luxury of a dip into the pool at the end of the day. I met the artist Andrew Vass during his residency, the conversations I had with him sparked many thoughts about the process of working, decisions during mark making and seeing drawings in a completely different light to creating representations. I do have hang ups about my drawing, because I still have that expectation that a drawing needs to be recognisable, NO IT DOESN’T! Making marks can be a different world, a line can have a massive story to tell, a mark can be changed, has it’s own history and time scale, a shadow of it’s own existence, can disappear leaving nothing but a memory. The conversations with Andrew inspire me to explore drawing in a totally fresh way, it also brought me closer to the work of my colleague and friend Emily Joy. Thank you to Aubrey and Kay Newman for hosting a deluxe stone carving weekend as well as putting up my drawing “Ceasura” this weekend, good to see that one in a new light too. Watch the space!
A weekend full of stone dust and the sound of the grinder, what could be better? I made progress during the last days, can see the forms finding their place in the stone. I seem to have the hang of the grinder now and the carving is developing in the speed I feel confident to complete the carving in time for “Art in the Garden”. No doubt there will be the last minute rush and panic but I know I will get there. I like the forms, especially the top part (see image below), slightly nervous about the hidden side, need to turn the sculpture over again to make sense of all sides, having the stone on a turntable makes a huge difference and having it nearer the door so the natural light can get to it. I am happy with my work.
With no other carving did I experience the same longing to turn it, being able to view it all the time from all sides, I believe this is due to a deeper understanding of 3D-ness, how I want the form to move freely between dimension. Thanks to Paul Grellier I am now able to work on one side of the carving that has been pretty much untouched so far. This will take me a few days to get my head round, who knows by then the stone might be much lighter and I can finally turn it over all by myself.
..I remember vividly the first history talk I had to give in secondary school about “Pompeii”, I was touched by the story, ever since wanted to visit Pompeii but have not managed it yet. I had to go and visit the current exhibition at the British Museum. Walking through the rooms that explained in depth life in Pompeii my heart sunk, I was not very much interested in all of that and wondered why that was? Was I hanging on to some sentimental memory, having high expectations of what I would come across? Then I walked into a room with the cast of a woman in resin and BANG that was it!!
…the posture, the expression on her face, so vulnerable, death from one second to the other, I knew then that was why I wanted to come here to be able to observe how humans deal with instant horror, to quick to think, to quick to respond…pure instinct so tangible.