DIONYSUS the wine god.

Finished, as well as it is going to be. Lots of learning about the stone in this one. I like the end figure, has a certain character I was aiming for, and not the full realism. A coat of tile sealer, but I wouldn’t leave it outside. About 17 cm diam. and 30 cm tall.

Tungsten carbide burrs in the flex shaft (foredom) were needed as the stone waas resistant to the rasp and a file was only good for a final smoothing. Very dusty work and I kept a nuisance mask on. Using water made twice the mess, and I’m unsure of the absorbancy of the stone.
Another piece of Mt Speed siltstone. A bit harder than I first thought. Used the angle grindern with a diamond cup grinder then diamond cutting wheels at first to get some bulk away. Good old bunnings. It takes some imagination to see what the result will be, and with direct carving there will always be changes as you go along.

BACCHANALIA playful experiments

Finished with 2 coats of slate sealer. A bit of a mess actually, but I’m glad I did it, just for what I found out about it all. Too soft actually and to prove it,there grew a large crack all around the mid layer of white in the base.So it can’t go out, and I have to decide wether to just smash it, or try for a clean break that would leave a shallow but OK base.(doubtful) Maybe just leave it sitting in a corner of the fernery.
Tracing paper to get it precise. Drawing of white on black. After a week of practicing deeper intaglio which I haven’t done for 20 years, I found it didn’t stand out clear enough. So I reverted to surface “drawing” with plenty of dark contrast.
A found junk shop bowl, and plastecine to practise I find easier than just drawing. There is a lot of cutting down from the top which broke my first effort.
Using some of the cameo carving practise I carved grapes in red and white, leaves in grey. The stone was very soft from decomposing by the weather, I think. Too crumbly at times but as an experiment I went ahead.
This rock showed several layers (striations) and seemed easy to carve with a rasp, file or knife.


Studio clean up day, I’m not going to call it the shed anymore. Even put a plastic sheet between the drill bench and the window. At last I can see out. Cleaned a few years of dust and too much stone from doing experiments inside. Time for some serious glass engraving. There’s some graal to do, and without the kiln I’m trying some found recycled ideas, and time to practice on that lathe.

NEXT STONE, a fruit bowl?

Me and the team get ready for a bigger Mt Speed Siltstone carving. This piece is fairly easy to work, fine enough to polish with files and wet and dry paper. When wet is shows the colour after polishing, a nice warm honey brown. Thinking of calling it “fruitful” if I’m not game to say “fecundity”.


After about half a day. Used the angle grinder with a diamond saw blade then a diamond cup. (easy Bunnings stuff) Made lots of dust so I had a mask and face shield. Even cut some of the centre with the saw then knocked it out with an old wood chisel. Learning to use the chisel which is quicker than a rasp of course but you have to be careful and think. And take your time, gentle does it.


Another half days work. Lots of time with the chisel and rasp. Quite hypnotic, and I relate to the hand contact and direct creative feel. Holding back a bit so I can take of more if I need, knowing I can’t put any back. I get covered with dust and chips, nearly as much as with the grinder. Will need to take more off the outside but I can work more inside first on the figures, using pencil etc to get the shape I want. Probably take the bowl lot deeper, rounded to a bowl shape. There’s a dark layer about there which I could work in beautifully.


POVERTY Mt Speed Siltstone. 12 cm w x 13 cm h x 5 cm deep

An obvious reference to German Expressionism. I find the political similarities a bit difficult and feel artists should be involved more in social issue discussions. This has two sides to their story and is open to a lot of different interpretations. It was smoothing with wet and dry that bought the colour out.
poverty1 poverty2

With a tray I could work inside, using rasps, files etc. Not too hard or messy, just not too quick either. I made a rough clay model first but basically direct carving. The planes catch the light and I played with this. While I did like the rough finish it is more suitable for bigger pieces and I will do that later.


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That heap over there is the spalls. Pay and pick out what I want from there. Would have loved some bigger ones but I can’t lift like I used to, and then I have to move them around at home.
One is the same brown I carved before, and there is a lot of interesting stuff in this lot. The greys are a nice tone, same tint as float glass, and some are very fine grained. Will polish well I think.

2 out of 3 aint bad

FOR THE STUDENTS, PAKISTAN. Mount Speed Siltstone. 14 x 10 x 6 cm h
Reasonably hard, about slate I guess. Can split. Cut with diamond saw, carbide burrs, files well. Sanded smooth with wet and dry to a silky finish. Has a nice wood grain like pattern in layers. Would work better a bit bigger. This is just a bit I found on the road, fell off a truck I guess. They sell direct and cheap trailer load so that’s next as I really like it.
MIDDLE EASTERN MADONNA 38 cm tall. Found sandstone. Inconsistant and very hard.


The Mount Speed siltstone, has quite a nice grain pattern and I like the colour. Cuts fine with the diamond saw, dia. burrs and carbide burrs, if a bit slow smooth. I’ve learnt if you chisel hard on or near the grain angle it will split. As I have experience with cutting wheels and burrs it seems a bit unneccesary to learn to chisel. Maybe. We’ll wait on that.
Being too hot to work outside meant I could draw up the disc from a marble slab, and today I cut the design in. Using carbide burrs in the flex shaft, seems to work fine and now I’ve even cut out the centre hole. Not real quick but no hassle and carbide cuts fine, with good control.Water running over to keep the dust down, and there’s lots of it. Looking foreward to this, as the marble gets thin it becomes translucent. The light coming through is great.
The sandstone is showing me how diamond cutting wheels can be used on their side,a little, to shape and they leave a smoother surface than the cup grinding wheels. I’m going to try and get a 50mm wheel soon for the diegrinder or straight drill(stronger if slower).Some offcuts were left sitting in water over the hot days, and now they crumble fairly easily. SO the sculpture is soaking in water to see if it carves easier.