Monday, October 04, 2010

The making of 'WISE'


Carved from sandstone ' Mu Wen Sha Yan' .... ' Wooden Wave Stone'   
Yunnan Province in Southwest China


4m High
       1m 10 Face 
     1m 40 Side

 Private Collection Ireland  

                  The making of WISE 

The carving of the sculpture 'WISE' came to me as a private commission. My client was quite sure as to what he wanted as a sculpture to be sited in his garden. My brief was to make a sculpture to represent something on the lines of the Easter Island heads that are carved in stone.  These are monolithic human figures and heads carved from stone on the Polynesian island known as Easter island, off the coast of Chile and were carved between the years 1250 and 1500. The tallest is almost 10 metres (33 ft) high and weighed 75 tonnes the heaviest erected was a shorter but squatter weighing 86 tons; and one unfinished stone, if completed, would have been approximately 21 metres (69 ft) tall with a weight of about 270 tons. These stones were carved by teams of craftsmen and were carved over long periods of time but for my own sculpture I was allowing myself three months to finish carving my stone working up to ten hours a day and for WISE to be sited in it's new home.         
After viewing my clients gardens a site was chosen for the finished sculpture and I set about making a model to scale. The choice of stone was left to me and I chose a Sandstone from Yunnan Province in Southwest China. This sandstone was suitable for outdoors due to it's hardness and the stone had a very distinctive grain in it that looked like wood-grain when wet which my client liked because of his passion for trees and therefore I ordered the stone in December 2005 in two blocks. My reason for this was due to transport on the roads and lifting into site by crane but makes for carving more difficult in controlling the 'line'.
The two blocks arrived into Ireland in March 2006 by sea ... and I began to work. Sandstone is very high in silica and when cutting causes a lot of fine dust that at times you feel you are working in a sandstorm which it is. The blocks were carved separate, that is standing apart but side by side to allow me to move from stone to stone while carving and then doweled on site and finished. I allowed myself three months to make and deliver to site, a little too tight a deadline working on my own but work-work-work and it can be done. It was delivered and sited on the appointed time to my client's satisfaction and mine too.  
My reason in naming the sculpture ''WISE'' was because of my client. I found him to be a wise and humble man and to this day he does not know the true reason as to why the sculpture is called 'WISE' but when I presented my working model to him and told him the title I said, when he asked why ''WISE'' for the title, my answer to him was because it looks 'WISE'. When an Artist finds a client who allows the Artist to 'listen to the stone' and be that Artist ...  he is ''WISE''

Me standing between the two blocks on the first day of carving

                  The top part in the process of being carved using a combination of hand tools and angle
                                                          grinder to remove the waste.

                                                          The bottom part being worked.

                                                      It is at times like this that you have to
                                                                   keep it all together ....

                                                                   to get to this stage.

                                                      The two parts of WISE in progress.

                                                 Stone waste from working the two blocks.

Concrete base for WISE, poured on site.

WISE being lifted in  by crane over the tree tops to it's new home...
it was placed into position by myself and the crane operator using walkie-talkie.
It took a great deal of skill on the part of the crane operator to line up the two stones without damage.

WISE in position on it's concrete base
You will notice the overhang of stone when the two stones are put into place this is to allow me to carve the two stones to mach up and finish.

Side view to WISE before I started work on matching up the two stones. 

You can see from the photograph that I made a platform around WISE to finish the carving. This was the only time in working the two stones that I had seen them placed together.

                                 Me looking up at WISE and very likely thinking how I got to                                   
this stage ....  but the self satisfaction cannot be described ....
                                 you have to try it for yourself.                             

The face looking down at you from inside the nose was an after thought on my part and came about when I was standing at the stone and looking up at it.  It was to act as a surprise element when you were looking up at the stone because it is not seen when approaching the stone or from any side. This is where my client gave me my 'artistic licence' to be the artist for it was not part of the original model. Registered & Protected