A Face for the Fall

There is a date with a slab of solid granite in my future. I have pledged to a friend that I will carve the face of a bear (he has lots of bears roaming his turf) on the rock solid, granite face of a huge boulder in front of his lovely Sunshine Coast home. It will be something like the image you see above..more or less, give or take..and I plan to tackle it this Fall. It sits before me as surely and as dauntingly as any mountain climbing expedition.

This will be no easy pickin’s. I have carved a lot of soapstone and alabaster and pyrophyllite (African black stone) in my day but I have never tackled granite. Frankly, I hear it’s a bitch. While you can shape soapstone with little more than a sharp fingernail, granite requires carbide-tipped chisels and diamond infused wheels. Granite does not give it up easily. Professional sculptors have told me that you can pretty much break your back on granite.

The big rock

But no matter. I have promised to give it a crack (no pun intended) and so I shall. I will don the requisite protective clothing (for granite shards can cut like glass) and I will breath through the appropriate apparatus (granite dust is not a substance for the healthy lung) and I shall give it a go. Everyone I tell this to says the same thing, ‘What if you make a mistake?’.  It’s nice to be around encouraging people! Well, yes, mistakes can be a problem. You really can’t afford to make any mistakes. You need to be slow and deliberate..methodical to the max.. and remove only as much stone as you see fit. This will not likely be a problem with granite as I don’t think it lends itself to great swoops of cavalier cutting. I don’t know yet if I will leave it raw or polish it to a mirror-like finish. Let’s first see how many pounds I lose and how many litres I sweat in the process. Lord knows, if I get too anal retentive I could be standing in front of that rock come Christmas.

It will be a challenge, no doubt, but I’m looking forward to it. I feel like I’ve been sitting on my ass for too long. For a sculptor, looking at a solid slab of rock is not much different from the feeling that every writer experiences when faced with the pristine page..or the blinking cursor on an empty computer screen. Sometimes you just need to make a start.

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3 Responses to “A Face for the Fall”

  1. Dave
    What a challenging project. I sincerely hope we all get to see the results.
    Not that I sculpt, but I have an opinion on everything, as you know. My vote goes for the glossy polish, think of the contrast in texture and when the rain hits it, WOW.
    Good luck, I know it will be spectacular.

    • Victoria, thanks for the encouragement. When this happens I will attempt to document the process with photos. If it fails, I will capture the subsequent dynamiting of the boulder. Kidding.

  2. I will be looking forward to see the outcome of your project.

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