The middle of a man

Torso by Jim Fatata, photo by Charles Uzzell 

Here’s an absolutely gorgeous torso in clay by my friend, Jim Fatata, who runs Litmus Gallery and Studios and the Raleigh Sculpture Group, where he teaches. This one’s in the drying stage and stands about 27 inches tall.

Life Size

mediasmall0005 Last time I visited my friend,  Ahmed Fadaam, he was working on this foam sculpture he will call “Media” at the UNC art lab. He took foam sheets like those pictured above, glued them together and placed them on a metal armature, and carved a beautiful life-sized running woman to represent run-away headlines in the news. Ahmed showed me how he used a heated wire to cut through the foam, then refined his surfaces with rasps and finally smoothed with sandpaper. In this image her arms have not yet been put into place, but he is much further along in the process now. Ahmed Fadaam with "Media" in progress

Eventually this sculpture will be covered in headlines cut from newspapers and I think it may be placed somewhere on the UNC campus when it is finished. He was kind enough to let me do a little carving on the back leg and a very tiny bit on the hair.

I hope you enjoy these images. I feel so fortunate to have Ahmed as a friend. I’ve learned a lot from him. He has shown me several materials including this one that he believes will help me push myself further as a sculptor. How do you thank someone so generous and kind, who helps make your dreams come true?

Fo Shizzel My Chizzel


stone carving_0101 

Second day carving this stone and I am having a blast. My teacher, Paris Alexander,taught me to use a point chisel to clear out more stone and to do some shaping with a tooth chisel. I was supposed to round out the tip of the nose (/me points to the square flat thing which is not rounded in the middle of the face) but I was bad and got distracted playing around with the rest of the face. He really has his work cut out for him, being stuck with me as a student. I can hardly wait till next week.

Part 1:  Turned to Stone -preliminary sketch for this sculpture

Part 2: The Cure for Stonliness is a Friend with a Chisel – image transfer and initial carving

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.

Turned to stone

stonecarving by Kim Marchesseault Here is my preliminary pencil sketch for my first attempt at relief carving in limestone.

This sketch was my second choice of the two designs I came up with. My instructor gently advised me that my first choice is too difficult for my skill level at this time.

The method of image transfer we used involved punching holes through the lines of the sketch with a nail and rubbing blue chalk into the nail holes. I didn’t punch deeply enough so only a few blue dots showed up on my stone, but they were enough to use as points of reference and fortunately I was able to quickly redraw the image in pencil on the limestone.

My instructor is Paris Alexander, a well known artist living in the Raleigh area. He seems at peace with himself, which makes taking this class from him an absolute pleasure.


seeds2 copyWhen I dreamt this one, I wasn’t sure how to make it. It took me a while to figure it out. “Seeds” came from a dream, but I think also it may have been inspired by a Japanese sculptseeds3ure we’ve had in our family since I lived in Okinawa as a child. I’ve made a lot of changes. I will post images of the Japanese sculpture soon.

There is a full female nude under the fabric on this one. The lady who modeled is really quite beautiful in real life by modern standards.

I’m not entirely done with the hands and a few other things. I was stumped for a long time by the birds because I don’t know much about birds. I’m sorry to all of you bird sculptors out there for my humble attempt.

I have a lot of dreams left to sculpt.

Murals make a million smiles

Kingswood Elementary Mural with artist Kelly Sari We had a lot of fun at Kingswood Elementary in Cary, NC working on these murals with artist, Kelly Sari. I was lucky to be able to volunteer for this project. There are eight panekingswood2_0122ls in all with each representing native species of fish and sea life in various areas of North Carolina. I believe every student at Kingswood participated  with sketching and painting.

In some areas of the mural panels  you could see drippy dots and Kelly  said it was really important to leave these because they  were made by kids from special ed classes. She wanted to make sure every child in the school could come back and see their contribution. These will hang in the Kingswood Elementary Media Center.

Kingswood’s PTA raised money to pay for a grant that allowed Kelly to come to Kingswood and do this project with the kids.