Mrs. Dart with the lions she commissioned as a birthday present for her husband. The home dates to the Twenties, and she recalled her husband commenting when they bought it that all it needed was a couple stone lions out front. She looked for years to find the right ones, and then thought of having them custom made. The lions were truly collaborative; she chose the props and I assembled the compositions.
She wanted the lion representing her to be accompanied by roses, butterflies, and a vase. For his, she wanted a shield with a tudor rose and a “D”, a frog, and a stink bug. I worked up clay models, 1/4 scale, and after a couple small revisions, the models were approved.
Using a variety of measuring tools and a calculator, I enlarged the models into the stone. The dots on the model indicate a point that I located on the model, and transferred to the stone.
Comfest is a big deal in Columbus, Ohio. Each summer volunteers put on three days of music, activist opportunities, and fun. Last year the organizers decided to add sculpture and asked me to participate. I had these pieces left over from roughing out an earlier piece, and drilled them and glued in steel pins on one end. They were easy to plunge into the soft ground to build ever changing sculptures, some made by me alone, others with the help of the festival goers.
For three days I made a constantly evolving piece, with the help of the community. It was a lot of fun, and there were some interesting conversations and interactions. Doing Art in public is a riot.
The square gave way to the circle., one piece at a time. Each post weighs about thirty pounds. At the end of each day I was definitely feeling it.
This piece was done by gently tossing the posts through the air and letting them land as they may. I wish I had taken a video of this one. Several of us plucking the posts from the circle and tossing them around. Good times. Would have made great video.
This version is so relaxed it almost looks drunken.
After I had completed this one, a man approached and performed an amazing feat- he leaped them al, on after the other, without stopping and without blowing a single landing.
It was hilarious to watch the would-be ninjas try to balance on these structures, clearly a bit buzzed… not.
My friend Ashley came by (wonderful painter) and asked if I would do him as a chalk outline. He got way more than he asked for. No bumping the sculpture allowed!
And then he managed to crawl out without disturbing a single stone. Go Ashley!
Now ask yourself- how did he get out of there? Not for the faint of heart. He was VERY slow about it, I must say.
That is all balance, and in a very public and crowded space. Majestic, it was. And all by eye. No measuring tools were used throughout the festival.
This one occupied the most space and took the longest time to make. Very tricky- and very cool.
This subtle piece was done by a volunteer. I dig it.
Peace, Art, and good times on a summer day. Wonderful.
Ihad a great time. Thanks Comfest. What for next year, eh?
There was something about carving this large apple core that I found relaxing. It was an unusually enjoyable job.
The original model, enlarged 1000% and carved in stone, with a forged steel stem and leaf. Very cool commission.
My favorite 1/4″ chisel doing it’s thing on the rough out, right behind Mr. Grinder doing its.
Almost fully roughed in; carving until late at night again. Some days I have to chase myself out of the studio.
Now, how do you flip a 2000 pound stone apple over? You roll it over with your forklift, of course.
Upside down and that big it almost doesn’t look like an apple anymore. Rough out is complete.
I have refined the texture of the skin, and have eaten the apple and done my best to record the result. Time to bite into the stone.
I considered biting deeply enough to expose a seed, but decided against it.
Maryann, my wife Wendy, and I had a good day traveling to Bokenkamp’s Forge near Mohican State Park, where we watched Mark forging the stem and leaf. The stem is wrought iron, the leaf cold steel.
Mark has welded a handle to the stem for handling, and does the final shaping by hand on the anvil. Even white hot it takes some serious hammering to bend a piece this thick.
The most beautiful apple stem imaginable.
The leaf, just getting started. I love the image of the burning leaf that won’t burn.
The finished apple, ready for delivery. I can’t wait to see it on it’s granite base! Delivery is scheduled for next week. It’s very cold this week; I hope it gets above single digits next week.
Maryann with the granite base, freshly planted. The column was buried in a yard near Powell, Ohio, for decades. No one knows why. It was made before diamond saws were used to cut granite, as the bottom and top are distinctly hand-tooled. The column has been in place for the last few months. By the end of spring it will look like it’s always been there. Thanks Maryann!
Sandstone lips, slight smile, a bit sexy.
Maryann and myself went the quarry and picked out the right block. Maryann wants a lips sculpture, and I have suggested a burgundy sandstone. We had a good time going to the quarry in northeast Ohio, through Amish country. It was a beautiful Fall day.
I carved a 1/2 scale model in styrofoam before beginning anything in the stone.
After drilling a series of holes, I put in the pins and feathers and split off the excess. Yes, it’s a damn nice drill.
I enlarged the apex points of the model to create the drawing. The dark color on the pencil lines is the hair spray I use to secure the pencil line; otherwise it will blow away when I blow the dust off the stone as I carve it.
I have drilled and cut and chiseled in a good bit. All is well.
Carving complete. I’m going to miss those lips.
To hold the lips above grass level so they seem to float over the lawn, I made a stainless steel “shadow” of the lips. This will also keep plants from growing under it.
Floating over a stainless steel plate on stainless pins, the piece will be placed in a meadow setting, and will appear to float just over the ground, always, all seasons, long, long, long. A slight smile, recorded. Thanks Maryann!
Patterned after originals in Central Park, these rosettes were commissioned by a client with homes in Manhattan and in upper New York State. He commissioned these because he loved the originals in the park and he was having a dry-laid stone wall made for his home, and wanted to customize the posts.
This is my initial sketch. From this I made a template so each quarter would be the same.
The completed design.
When I want to make duplicates of a design, I do each piece step by step, keeping each stroke and each chisel the same for each piece.
I’ve always found this kind of work relaxing and meditative. I hope it brings that feeling to the client.