To Grasp the Wind

"Grasp the Wind" by Kim Marchesseault "Grasp the Wind" by Kim MarchesseaultHere  is my  latest sculpture called “Grasp the Wind”, which, to me, means to understand or achieve something very complex, difficult, seemingly unachievable. 

 

To  to grasp at the wind would be to attempt something that appears futile, but how do we know it’s futile until we give it a try? And now we can fly. We’ve touched the moon.

"Grasp the Wind" by Kim Marchesseault"Grasp the Wind" by Kim Marchesseault

This isculpture is pictured during its construction in the post called In Progress.

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Broken with my own hands

sketchbomber2  Usually I feel some kind of pain if my work is destroyed, but this one I broke myself and felt nothing. I held it in my hands and broke it into pieces. Then I fired the pieces in my kiln. Why would I do this? Why would I fire the broken pieces and save them?  It was a nice looking piece with potential. It received compliments from artists I respect during the sculpting process. I didn’t want it.

The sculpture itself wasn’t the problem. The problem is for the first time in my sculpture group I requested a pose for an important work that I must do. MUST do. Many times I have found a way to make the best of poses chosen by other people. This one time I needed something and I told them how important it was to me. No one else needed any pose in particular, yet they didn’t want to do mine. I felt intuitively like I was being undermined. …But instead of finding a nice, healthy assertive way to firmly request the needed pose or to back out of the session, I felt overwhelmed so I smiled and pretended everything was alright and I told jokes and sculpted. Then, after paying my money for the model and spending my time on this work, I took it home and when I was alone, I broke it. The pieces have been sitting in my garage for many months.  It took me this long to figure out why I did that.

I don’t want to live like that anymore.

Little black number

"Night Lotus" by Dale McEntire -photo by Kim Marchesseault 

“Night Lotus”, an intimately scaled, meditative, black steatite stone carving by Dale L. McEntire, invites us to ponder its flowing curves among angles; its rough, organic, earthiness against silky-smooth, refined surfaces; and lightening strikes of blinding white on midnight black.

Dale McEntire, Sculptor of “Night Lotus” says, “The sculpture ”Night Lotus “ is inspired by the concept of life and beauty evolving from the below the surface and enfolding into visible form. This is a metaphor that appears in ancient text in many cultures. The stone was quarried in Virginia and the opportunity to use natural surfaces incorporated with carved and polished surfaces is a major element in this work. My goal with sculpture is create positive images that are inspiring and uplifting.” 

I was thinking about carving a commissioned sculpture from this type of stone because the natural white streaks in it would be key to the work.   My stone carving teacher, Paris Alexander, said he has tons of it lying around. I looked at him and laughed. Anyone else who says they have tons of something lying around, you know it’s an exaggeration, but when a stone carver says they have tons of something lying around, they literally have tons.

ECU professor, Hanna Jubran, strolled by laughing and joking like he does while Dale was installing this piece in the Cary Sculpture Exhibition.  Dale had been a student of Hanna’s. They began discussing the difficulties with carving this type of stone. It’s beautiDale McEntire applies mineral oil to sculpture, ful, but Hanna said it was a health risk because basically it was like carving into talc. Breathing airborne talc particles would be similar to breathing in asbestos. Dale said he loved the way the stone carved and the way it looked but he had to wear a full face respirator while working this stone. Of course there’s no danger once you finish carving.

Before installation, Dale had the sculpture sitting on its side and you could see he had drilled a hole into the bottom of the stone and inserted a thread he could screw right onto the base. So clever.

On the left you can see Dale McEntire applying mineral oil to his sculpture as the finishing touch.

And then one day …it happened

"And Then One Day....It Happened" by Charles Brouwer -Photo by Kim Marchesseault 

Charlie Brouwer, sculptor of “And then one day …it happened” said “Recently most of my outdoor sculptures have been human figures. The ideas for them come from my personal experiences. Occasionally I experience, or think something that seems to resonate with meaning going beyond my personal life and I turn it into a sculpture. I hope viewers will recognize in these figures something of what it means to be human.

 

I make them out of locust wood that grows in the Blue Ridge Mountains where I live.  Locust has been the traditional wood of choice for fence posts because it is extremely hard and very resistant to weather and rot. This also makes it a good material for outdoor sculptures. 

For each sculpture I use some locust directly from logs and limbs, and some that has been cut into lumber by sawmills. Together they suggest the way we humans seem to be both part of nature and products of our own invention.

 

We live in a difficult era – humans and the earth are in trouble on every front. I cannot make art without thinking about this situation. 

I find myself asking – how should we live, what should we do, what is beautiful, true, good, and important now?”

 

The wood looks wonderfully faded to almost white with a striding figure at the base undergoing a sudden metamorphosis -becoming a ladder reaching toward the sky.

I love philosophy in sculpture. I’m so lucky to have these close to my house.

I didn’t have the privilege of watching the installation process of this piece in the Cary Sculpture Exhibit so I took pictures afterward.  Here are a couple of handy tips for photographing sculpture.

1. Do not eat king crab legs the night before you take pictures no matter how succulent and delicious they look. The little spiky things in the shells poke into your finger tips and it’s really painful the next day when you’re trying to press the buttons on your camera.

2. Bring something to brush off bird poo from the sculptures with. I wish someone had said something to me before I went! Instead I had to use my hand.

3. Wear old clothes for rolling around in the dirt and grass.  Check your hair for grass, dirt and insects *before* you meet someone for lunch.

4. Don’t panic when the person in the office behind the sculpture you’re photographing looks wide eyed at you from their window and suddenly closes the blinds. At this point there’s still a good chance they won’t actually report you to the police as a stalker.

Digging deeper

stone carving day 4 Kim Marchesseault 

At the point this photo was taken, I was told not to carve further on the hair or fabric around the face, and not to carve the hand yet so the face began to shrink a bit and become enclosed by the stone. I had a hard time reaching the places I needed to work on. I know the idea was to preserve options for future. It’s hard for me to work on areas someone else tells me to, or to ignore parts of a whole piece.  I like to flit around from part to part and let the whole thing take shape.

I’ve been told this face is ugly, that it looks like a man, that it must be an Asian woman. Someone, trying to help me out, took a chisel and removed her left cheek bone prior to this picture because they disagreed about the structure of this face. I was really upset afterward and I had to carve deeper to get the cheek partially restored.  Now the nose looks crooked and adjustments need to be made.  I am doing my best to use these comments, experiences and the guidance to benefit the quality of my work overall. I guess it’s good to run into many obstacles to learn better how to deal with them.

I love working with a hammer and chisel. I love the feel of the tools in my hands. I hope I wind up with something that looks human in the end.

 

This is part five of the series on this stone carving.

Part 4: Little bit older and a lot less boulder

Part 3: Fo shizzel my chizzel

Part 2: The cure for stonliness is a friend with a chisel

Part 1: Turned to stone

Seeds

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.

PTSD healing through sculpture

I started sculpting around the same time I began therapy for PTSD. Here’s what happened in my sculpture unintentionally. These are posted in the order they were completed. Looking back, they are like a journal in clay of the healing process.

Click to enlarge any image.

“The Pawn”

“Agony”

“River’s Dawn” -a piece about hope.

“Why?”  -anger with God.

“The Truth”

“Letting in the Light” -revealing and demanding the truth. This marked the most difficult time in therapy.

“A New Direction”

“Reverie”

“Free Diver” -freedom. (Flashbacks stopped)

I know it’s silly of me, I just thought maybe someone else out there going through PTSD might find some hope in these.