Dart Lions

Indiana Limestone 36" x 36 x 34"
Indiana Limestone
36″ x 36 x 34″

Mrs. Dart with the two lions she commissioned as a birthday present for her husband. She said that as they were moving in to their new house (built in the Twenties) he had said something like “if it had a couple lions on the pillars it would be perfect”, so fo years she looked but couldn’t find the right lions, so she decided to find a carver and get them custom made. It was a fun collaboration; she had ideas of content, and gave me a free hand with the composition.

Dart Lions 21

For the lion representing herself, she wanted to be accompanied by roses, butterflies, and a vase; for him, a shield, a tudor rose, a “D”, a frog, and a stinkbug. I made 1/4 scale clay models, and after a couple small revisions, approval was given.

Dart Lions 10

Using a calculator and a variety of measuring tools I enlarged and reproduced the models into stone. The dots on the model represent a point I located and enlarged.

Dart Lions 4

I descended 4″ at a time, using a grinder to knock back the excess. This enabled me to use the original block face as a “true” to measure from. The block size is the same size as the wood pad the clay model is made on.

Indiana Limestone 36" x 36" x 34"
Indiana Limestone
36″ x 36″ x 34″

In this way I was able to get very close to a finish without hesitation. Knowing where one is going makes getting there a lot quicker.

Indiana Limestone 36" x 36" x 34"
Indiana Limestone
36″ x 36″ x 34″

The first one is finished.

Indiana Limestone 36" x 36" x 34"
Indiana Limestone
36″ x 36″ x 34″

I use a single chisel during the rough in phase, a 1/4″ chisel, so I can keep track of the level of refinement I have taken the surface.

Henry Keeps Watch
Henry Keeps Watch

Henry hangs out with me, impervious to the dust.

Indiana Limestone 36" x 36" x 34"
Indiana Limestone
36″ x 36″ x 34″

The lion is ready to go.

Indiana Limestone, 36" x 36" x 34"
Indiana Limestone,
36″ x 36″ x 34″

They will never be this close together again. The stink bug is hiding behind the shield, wary of the frog sneaking up. They get acquainted and size each other up. They have a big job ahead.

Dart Lions 15

Beautiful morning for a delivery. I had checked in to a hotel the night before- eight hour drive to the site- and had an hour to enjoy some coffee before meeting the lift on site. Driving things like this is always an adventure, and always nerve rattling.

Dart Lions 17

Although the operator was a terrific driver, nothing beats a good old pulley to really put it exactly where you want it. Good bye, lions- may you serve them well. Thanks for letting me be part of it!

 

 

Lips

Carving is complete.
Carving is complete.

Sandstone lips, slight smile, a bit sexy.

Lunch stop
Lunch stop

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.

Rakish light at the end of the day
Rakish light at the end of the day

I carved a 1/2 scale model in styrofoam before beginning anything in the stone.

This goes back to the Egyptians.
This goes back to the Egyptians.

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.

Graffitti this, baby
Graffitti this, baby

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.

3D. What a concept
3D. What a concept

I have drilled and cut and chiseled in a good bit. All is well.

Waiting for delivery.
Waiting for delivery.

Carving complete. I’m going to miss those lips.

amazing how strong stainless steel really is
amazing how strong stainless steel really is

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.

Stones don't shiver. Ever.
Stones don’t shiver. Ever.

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!

Apple

 

Stone apples tolerate the cold very well.
Stone apples tolerate the cold very well.

There was something about carving this large apple core that I found relaxing. It was an unusually enjoyable job.

 

Sharpie tastes bad even if you spit it out right away.
Sharpie tastes bad even if you spit it out right away.

The original model, enlarged 1000% and carved in stone, with a forged steel stem and leaf. Very cool commission.

Whack-A-Mole anyone?
Whack-A-Mole anyone?

My favorite 1/4″ chisel doing it’s thing on the rough out, right behind Mr. Grinder doing its.

That is my hammer in there, upside down, pretending to be the stem.
That is my hammer in there, upside down, pretending to be the stem.

Almost fully roughed in; carving until late at night again. Some days I have to chase myself out of the studio.

I've been driving this lift since 1989. Thanks Tony!
I’ve been driving this lift since 1989. Thanks Tony!

Now, how do you flip a 2000 pound stone apple over? You roll it over with your forklift, of course.

(I bet those bumps have a name. Maybe I should Google it.)
(I bet those bumps have a name. Maybe I should Google it.)

Upside down and that big it almost doesn’t look like an apple anymore. Rough out is complete.

Planning every bite. Obsessive to the last.
Planning every bite. Obsessive to the last.

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.

Chomp Chomp!
Chomp Chomp!

I considered biting deeply enough to expose a seed, but decided against it.

Thanks Mark!
Thanks Mark!

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.

Hanging with the blacksmith- who gets to do that?
Hanging with the blacksmith- who gets to do that?

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.

Satisfied smile, well earned.
Satisfied smile, well earned.

The most beautiful apple stem imaginable.

lying on a bed of hot coal...
lying on a bed of hot coal…

The leaf, just getting started. I love the image of the burning leaf that won’t burn.

The leaf that will never wilt.
The leaf that will never wilt.

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.

Thanks fellas, for digging the most perfect hole ever, 36" deep, in hard and rocky ground.
Thanks fellas, for digging the most perfect hole ever, 36″ deep, in hard and rocky ground.

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!

Bruck Address Stone

Sandstone
Sandstone

This playful address stone was carved from an old railroad bridge block by myself and Matthew Palmer. The client eventually moved, and I re-carved the scroll to his new address.

Lombardi Pool Gate

Kansas Limestone
Original Design by Dale Johnson

These impressive pineapples ring a beautiful swimming pool. The pineapple is a traditional symbol of bounty and welcome.

Original Design by Dale JohnsonKansas Limestone
Original Design by Dale Johnson
Kansas Limestone

We did eight of these for this pool. Details like this add the craftsman’s touch to even the most stately of homes.

 

Kelly Rosettes

Indiana Limestone 10" x 10" x 5"
Indiana Limestone
10″ x 10″ x 5″

 

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.

 

kelly rosettes 8

This is my initial sketch. From this I made a template so each quarter would be the same.

Indiana Limestone 10" x 10" x 5"
Indiana Limestone
10″ x 10″ x 5″

The completed design.

Indiana Limestone 10" x 10" x 5"
Indiana Limestone
10″ x 10″ x 5″

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.

Indiana Limestone 10" x 10" x 5"
Indiana Limestone
10″ x 10″ x 5″

I’ve always found this kind of work relaxing and meditative. I hope it brings that feeling to the client.

 

Lombardi Herms

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

This fantastic project consists of four fountains and four Herms. The Herms are based on the adult versions of four of the Greek Gods. The fountains are cherubic versions of the same Gods (look for Lombardi Fountains in the Fountains category).

This is Apollo.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Dionysus.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

God of wine, and a bit randy. Matthew Palmer carved the faces. He has since gone solo (long ago) and has a sculpture career and studio in the Pacific Northwest.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Another shot of Dionysus. I’ve done so many projects with this client that I’ve seen these guys in many different lights and seasons and they always look good.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

This was a big summer for us in the studio. I can’t even remember the year this was, we were so busy. This is a good shot of the stone, Kansas Limestone.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Athena.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

I’ve always love Athena’s helmet. We also did the pineapples and pier caps in the background.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Apollo, intent.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

The chin of Apollo had to be right, and Matthew nailed it.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Apollo, God of the Sun.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

The pool these sculptures guard is in a beautiful Ohio town.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Persephone, Goddess of Spring.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Radiant Persephone.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

We tried to portray her as she was before she was lured by Hades.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Spring… rebirth, a fresh start.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

The harsh side light would show if the scrolls were not right. The shadows would be wavy. That scroll is RIGHT. We also did the pineapples and pier caps in the background.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

The acanthus leaf is a revealer of personality of a carver. There are lots of variations, but when they are poorly done they are horrible.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Apollo, a few years later. I like the aged version much better.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Dionysus, older and a bit more exposed.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Dionysus facing north.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

The pose just happens to have provided a protection of sorts for Persephone’s face, which lets it keep its glow.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Athena, strong against the elements.

Lombardi Herms
Kansas Limestone 6′ x 18″ x 18″
In association with Matthew Palmer and Jack Oliver

Dionysus, and one of the pier caps and pineapples. It’s a fun pool to visit, year long.

Granite Ring

Granite Ring
Granite, Steel, Nature
20′ x 20′ x 4′

These granite end cuts were more or less gifted to me by my former employer. He had asked me if he could store them on my old property, and when we moved, I warned him that if I had to move the slabs they would be mine. This raised garden is the result, and has become out pet cemetery.

Granite Ring
Granite, Steel, Nature
20′ x 20′ x 4′

It’s beautiful all year long, and is aging well.

Granite Ring
Granite, Steel, Nature
20′ x 20′ x 4′

This shot of it filled with blooming thistles is one of my favorites.

Shear Urns

Shear Planter
Kansas Limestone
24″ x 24″ x 22″

These limestone planters are hand carved to order; the client’s address is hand carved into the stone.

 

Shear Planter Kansas Limestone 24" x 24" x 22"
Shear Planter
Kansas Limestone
24″ x 24″ x 22″

These carved stone urns feature a reproduction of the historic home’s street address, carved into the limestone entry. Part of the joy of being an artist that specializes in commissions is working with the client to make each piece unique and personal.

Shear Planter
Kansas Limestone
24″ x 24″ x 22″

Gemeinhardt Garden Gate

Gemeinhardt Garden Gate
Indiana Limestone
Brickwork by others

This stone garden gate was a challenge to install. The upper is actually hollow, and holding all those stones in place until the mortar set was a hoot. Still… what a cool arch to pass through on the way into the garden!

 

Gemeinhardt Garden Gate
Indiana Limestone
Brickwork by others
I would like to get back to take more recent photos. I am sure that now that the garden has grown it is more suited and rooted (no pun intended). Maybe I will stop by some day and knock on the door. It’s a local job.