Sunday, April 25, 2010

Carved in Stone

Can't say how many times I've made that comment to emphasize certainty and commitment, but this weekend, I thought I would take a stab at actually doing sculpting a rock. I was offered an opportunity to take a class from noted sculptor, DJ Garrity, three time sculptor-in-residence at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday.

DJ introduced himself to me and spoke for awhile about the quality of stone and the tools necessary to take an ordinary piece of basalt and carve a human face into the rock. He offered me my pick of the rocks and I found a piece about 15" in height that had a bare hint of a face on one edge. Hammer in one hand and chisel in the other, I set about following his directions. DJ is an excellent instructor and alternates between telling you about the craft of carving stone and telling stories about his travels throughout the United States and Ireland where he plies his craft. The first night flew by and I was excited by what I had accomplished, even if it was just shaping a nose.
On Saturday, I couldn't wait to get started again. Today, I was joined by Kay, who owns the Pickled Heron Gallery in Ridgefield, WA, who sponsored the class. We all worked side by side on our pieces and I am amazed at how the face comes out of the rock.
Once you get going, the face guides you as if it had been waiting inside the stone all along and was eager to see the light of day. By that afternoon, I had found all but the eyes and forehead.
Class ended at three and with plenty of daylight left, I decided to take my camera out to Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. This is one of the best times of the year to see the waterfowl as they are breeding and I was not disappointed. Blue Herons, waterfowl of several varieties, Red-Winged Blackbirds and more were everywhere, easily seen from the car, where you have to remain this time of year to avoid disturbing the birds raising their young.
This heron caught his dinner while I was taking his photo.
On Sunday, I carved my chin, eyes and forehead and have only to sand my piece to finish it. I will return for another day of class in May, but I can see, this could truly become addictive.
I've already started my second piece.....


Eva said...

He looks so cool Jan! *impressive*

Queen Of Toys said...

wow that face is awesome, great work Jan.

Tory Brokenshire said...

What a great class and your piece is wonderful!!! Love the fact that you caught the Heron eating dinner.

Paula McNamee said...

Jan, you're amazing- tackling yet another medium! Your sculpture is wonderful.

Ro Bruhn said...

This is a very major project you have happening here. The face looks wonderful, you're a natural.

Jen Crossley said...

Jan What can I say this is truely amazing Your talent knows no end.Im impressed big time

Anonymous said...

Jan!!! Your rock is stunning. I want to hear all about it! Tools, time, what an achievement

Cindi V. Walton said...

I took a sculpture class at BSU. It is amazing that you can actually carve anything in stone! Great carving, Jan!