The cure for stonliness is a friend with a chisel


The post Turned to stone contains an image of the preliminary sketch for this carving. stonecarving_20105We used a hammer and chisel to roughly outline the major parts of our design in limestone. I jumped the gun by chiseling around the mouth, nose and eyes a bit, but hopefully I didn’t do any serious harm.  The next step will be removing lots of stone from the low areas in the design. After the high and low areas are roughed in, we get to start really shaping and refining things.

The high parts of this carving will be the hand, the tip of the nose, the *picture* right cheek/brow and the hair on the top right portion of the image, which is X’ed out so it will not be touched till later. Underneath the ear area will be one of the deeper parts of the carving so lots of stone will be removed there. The hair/fabric I have just roughed in so that I can fine tune the design in stone as I work.

It’s nice that we do not have to wear a respirator while carving limestone. A respirator is required for granite and marble.

I’m excited about trying out stone carving with Paris Alexander here in the Raleigh area. He’s great at patiently showing us how to use and hold the tools for good results. Without this, I would probably abandon stone. I woke up last night holding an imaginary chisel in my left hand just the way Paris taught me.

I still have high hopes for something that looks human when I’m done. I have a lot of stone left to remove and I can hardly wait till Saturday rolls around again.

10 Responses

  1. Good luck on this, kimiam. You’ll see that it gets easier once you eliminate the stone on the outside of your lines and start rounding the edges. God is it fun! How deep do you propose to go? If it’s even a centimeter deep you can’t have done any harm, though you did jump the gun a little. It doesn’t matter. You will have to get used to losing those lines as you carve–they disappear while the shapes take over.
    I never wore a respirator in my life.
    I wonder how you hold the tools. The stonemasons all stuck the chisel under their ring finger until their hands were deformed. I could never do that–it hurt too much, but it gives great firmness.

  2. I think hands must be a real pain in the neck to carve.

  3. Thanks, swallows! I’ll probably go about an inch to an inch and a half deep so I still have a lot of chiseling to do before knocking out the unneeded bulk. I am enjoying it, but I find that I’m much more timid about it than Paris is. I watch him and he just gets in there like it’s nothing. I’m so new at this and not yet sure of myself.

    Grant, I havent’ carved any hands yet…just carved around them so far. I’ll let you know how it goes. :P~

  4. Kim,
    This is really exciting! I can’t wait to see how your work looks in stone.
    How do you like the subtractive method of creating shapes? I have a face I was trying to do that “referred” to my wife’s face until it lost just a little too much of the nose in the wrong place. (My wife doesn’t have a big nose, no, no, no that’s not what I meant.) It ended up more of a spirit woman I guess. Anyway, I still like it and see it every day as it’s on a wall hung jewelry box I made for my wife.

    Have fun.

  5. Looks interesting. Similar to woodcarving. I used to watch my uncle carve wood as a child. It looked like very hard physical work. Is the limestone easy to work? I’m looking forward to experiencing your experiences with stone. I’m sure it will turn out very human. 🙂

  6. Oooooooh… this is going to be very cool.

  7. Hey, I’m not seeing much progress on this stone. Is it once a week class?

  8. Todd, you can’t be talking about a handcarved jewelry box like that in front of all us ladies unless you brought enough for everyone!!

    Erika, limestone is supposed to be one of the easiest stones to carve. I tell ya what, though, the way you hold the tools makes a huge difference in the results you get so having an experienced instructor is priceless.

    mad M, I sure hope so!

    Bill, yes, it is once per week, you slave driver!

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