Tuesday, October 27, 2009






Fontanabuona Black Slate
1m High x 0.5m x 0.5m

3rd International Symposium in Slate
'La Pietra Nera'

The Story

It's unavoidable in Italy not to feel the strong religious ' presence ' in architecture or the church bells ringing out almost all hours of the day especially in the mountains or small towns or villages almost everywhere you go and Cicagna is one of those small towns in the mountains that has that ' presence '.
Cicagna , besides it's marble has it's slate mines , a blue - black slate of quite good quality and the slate was the material I chose to work in having never tried it before , some of the other sculptors chose to work in the local marble . The working technique of slate is not like any other carving process and took me awhile maybe the whole working time of the symposium to feel any way relaxed with the material . The making of sculpture in slate is not very common because you are quite restricted as in what you can do to the material but I would feel more comfortable in the abstract design in the material and cut in the ' right way ' the lines can be very clean and polish up to a very fine finish , that's the plus for the material . When you work the material ' face on ' it's quite hard to carve any grate depth into it and that's why hand cut letters look and wear well in slate , the weather can never damage the material , but when you work the slate with the vein it falls away in sheets , and therefore the working approach I adapted was ' cut in and chop out ' maybe other sculptors have a different working method for the slate but this was the way I approach the material and before I cut the slate I had to think about the cut as in what way it was going to come out and in the way I wanted it to . I would liked to have more time on my hands to see what I could do with the material , this is always the way in working the stone , you want to give it your best as it will give you it's best , but as in symposium it was not to be and to finish the work was more important , always finish , it's your name and reputation , it's better for it to travel ahead of you in good words than bad .
From the photographs you can see it's dealing about religion and from the title of the work you can understand the message in the sculpture , but the deeper message within the work is  the conscious and the sub-conscious  mind . The conscious mind [ the thinking mind ] is symbolic of Moses carrying the tablets which the Ten Commandments are carved on in Roman numerals down from the mountain and and the figure at the back is the sub-conscious mind [ non thinking mind ] carved in semi abstract form and burying it's face in it's hands , not wanting to be part of what's going on . You will notice from the photographs that the conscious mind from the weight of the tablets and the responsibility it carries is leaning into the sub-conscious mind as for support . The two minds are joined together at the back of the head showing that the sub-conscious mind can be accessed if we know how to go about it and that both can be one and be one [ To Be Or Not To Be ] .  At the base of the stone on the polished side , which I call ' the dark side ' is carved the sun , the moon and the Tower of Babel , so immense was the Tower that it's top was in the heavens according to the bibical account . The Tower was not built for the worship or praise of God but was dedicated to the glory of man and God seeing what the people had done came down and destroyed the Tower and scattered the people throughout the Earth . Carving the Tower into my work was important to me and the Mind and God debate within myself is still going on as it has since the beginning of Time as we know it .
Most people looking at my work will not see the ' deep message ' in it at first but some will and I remember one old man did get the meaning when I was completing my work but it was not until I carved the Tower of Babel did the sculpture come together for him . I am always surprised when my work can ' touch ' .

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009



ALMAZAN , { Soria }

Local Limestone

2.7m High x 0.50m x 0.50m

1st International Symposium in Limestone

The Story

It was not long after my return from India that I received an inviation to take part in a symposium in Almazan , Soria , Spain  and it was not until I reached Spain that cultural shock really ' kicked in ' on me . The time from India to Spain was to short as I was still  ' deprogramming ' from India and the work I did there . I do not repeat my work or style in every country, each country deserves a different work , a work that the people of that country can relate to and that's why I go through ' deprogramming ' .
Almazan has a local limestone and it's near to the hardness of granite . My block and size was already chosen for me , that is , when I arrived there the block was already on site and my name on it . So that's it , destiny has chosen the stone condition and size and if I am in '' tune '' with the stone the right sculpture will come out . , this is symposium , the meeting of other sculptors , the work , the challenge , the stone and the time to work it in , if you cannot work within the time allowed for the symposium......... don't go .
My sculpture had to relate to Spain or better still Almazan and my feelings were telling me , El Cid . Spain has many histories and not like the Spain of today and El Cid is part of that history , the part where castles were in their glory and Spain was Spain .  Trying to portray a part of a country's history be it in paint or sculpture is not an easy task and needs research but as I have said before I work with my ' feelings ' and THE GHOST OF EL CID  was going to relive in my stone . So not to ' waste ' away the stone I used all that was given to me and carved ' snap shots ' of El Cids time in Spain   .......    castles , swords and shields mountains and battle fields complete with the rats in after the battle to feed . One sculptor taking part in the symposium made the remark to me that I was painting the stone , { it was not a complement } , it just showed he was judging sculpture on his own concept as to what sculpture should be and therefore he has already reached his ' peak '.  In the making of art it's all about ' expression ' and not ' proven formulas ' that feel safe . In the process of making art it's a transformation of mind and body , a learning and feeling change that's private and when it's all finished it becomes the artwork born from an idea , a feeling and the desire to create and not from the ' proven formula '.
The main door of my castle you can enter your hand in right up to your elbow , which means that I carved the inside of the stone out , not drilled because with drilling the chance of bursting the stone open is greater and I could not take that chance with the stone , and so it was carved by hand as in hammer and punch and air hammer . Even though my sculpture is depicting scenes from a history , the real ' joy ' for me in this work was opening the stone as in the door of the castle and to see how far I could ' push ' the  stone ...... the door to El Cid's world has just opened .


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