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Old 08-16-2008, 05:28 PM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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The zen of Sculpture

Been working on a 6' tall sculpture recently. For awhile now it has been hard to pound away all day and not see lots of progress. Stone chips fall but the design was slow in emerging.

Starting yesterday and especially today, the sculpture started the Sculpture Dance. I am sure you have seen/felt/experienced this. It is where all of a sudden the stone turns the corner from blob or block to a bonafide sculpture. This can be experienced when hours of work can seem like minutes. Then the sculpture, still unnamed, starts metaphorically wiggling or begining to dance. Almost like it is helping the sculpture process by shaking off the unnecessary stone (squealing for joy??).

From that point onward, the carving seems almost effortless (not quite but makes for a good story). Yes there is still the dreaded life-sucking sanding and polishing, but now the sculpture will live to see the light outside the studio and find a new home. Not be consigned to a dark and dreary corner to live out its miserable days thinking of what it could have been.

Do any of you share this psychosis or should I keep this a secret?

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Old 08-16-2008, 06:26 PM
furby furby is offline
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Re: The zen of Sculpture

Nah you're right, there is a point where it comes alive. before that its just hard slog & after that you have to keep the spirit alive & bring it out even better without ruining it. so that can be a delicate thing but you have to somehow use boldness at the same time.

with my life sized figures, its been average 3 months work & then it all comes together, in 1 day it suddenly starts to come alive & i think phew pulled it off again. i guess it is performance anxiety as well. can i do it this time, just cos i did it before, can i do it again? you never sure.

Another point is you got to put in the preliminaries & trust in it & i guess 3 months (for example) could be more than you'd immediately imagine it would take to get it to there... or that any student would be able to maintain that much time when hoping to do such a thing for the first time. i guess its like that with all the arts. i still can't play music cos the 10 minutes a year i spend learning the same 3 chords on the guitar are not quite enough effort to put in
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Old 08-17-2008, 01:13 AM
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thegnome thegnome is offline
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Re: The zen of Sculpture

yeah, I use to play the piano, still do at times. It's a different feel then sculpture. I spent a great deal of time with the piano and each song that you would work on would produce a different sensation. The sensation of producing art to me is a more satisfying. I think the artist is rewarded through out the process of creating the piece and bringing it to life.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:05 AM
furby furby is offline
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Re: The zen of Sculpture

music is transient... but its got a lot going for it.
I would like to marry someone who played music, and they could play for me and i'd make them sculptures. sounds fair!
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:09 PM
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StevenW StevenW is offline
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Re: The zen of Sculpture

That psychosis for me comes after they reach the hands of the person/s I made them for and it is cumulative. The entire process of making has always seemed effortless in the sense that I am in a generalized trance while rendering them out. It's the only time you can get me to shut up, not be obnoxious and pay attention. The little joys and troublesome bothers along the way and the turning of the corner so to speak are triumphs, losses, victories and revelations that add up to years of potential musings, imagined or real that become a more permanent joy.
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:29 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: The zen of Sculpture

This is true in my junk steel stuff as well. I've been working on a big one for some time now that has still not begun to leave the "pile-o-junk" stage. And you worry that it never will. But it does (most of the time), eventually, succumb to the form and all the heavy crap that it is comprised-of recedes; becoming just some matter...not unlike stone or clay.

And its true that as you plow so laboriously through these earlier stages of the work the only thing that keeps you going is the excitement over what it will become.

It gets asier when you've been there many times before - you just know that the good stuff is coming.

But, as daunting as it may seem it is very important to occasionally bite-off more than you can chew, to flounder in doubt, to face the terror of wasting massive amounts of time, money and energy on something that you might just NOT be able to pull off. So much progress can come from this - even if you fail (I have failed on such efforts). On these huge stinkers, the regret is only outperformed by the seasoning of the "soul".
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:39 PM
furby furby is offline
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Re: The zen of Sculpture

Yep - i been very lucky doing these big ones & being paid for it (couldn't do em otherwise) - they come just at a time when i needed to do something REALLY difficult & to push myself really hard. and it has been bloody hard, and loads of terror, petrifying doubt and utter exhaustion. I've learned more in 1 year than in the past 10, its been absolutely fantastic. I never would have been up to this task in the first 10 years, or maybe 15, of sculpting. but i've always been a late starter.
My next project (if possible) is to visit Paris & see some sculpture, and see how i can take my work to a higher level from that. But REALLY see it, and really learn stuff. Eh, maybe this is too hard, but i want to give it my best shot. It certainly can't hurt.
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