Parent block of Ancaster Weatherbed limestone, around 6 tons before being split, the faint black line marking out a triangle on the right top surface, is where it will be split for me to give my block.
Quarry man drilling the stone to be split, he has got a bigger drill than me, damn it. It took him about 5mins to drill one hole, it takes me around 15mins.
Triangular block back at my studio, weighs 1.2 tons took the total capacity of a 3.5 tons VW flat bed to get home, it looked quite small in the quarry but quite large in the truck.
Drawing and Splitting. The stone is drilled with 30mm holes, plugs and feathers are inserted and hammered until it breaks. This is quite quick but rough and can only be used when there is plenty of stone otherwise there is a risk of breaking off the bit you want to keep. Splitting stone like this is my favourite job, the plugs ring when hit with a hammer, the sound gets higher until finally the stone gives with a pop.
Once everything that can be split has, it's on to a pitcher, point, grinder and sds hammer drill to shape. Ever increasing piles of chippings form around the piece.
I think I will do a journal piece in the future to show all these tools in order to describe what they look like and the jobs they do.
Bit of a clean up and Triped is going inside for a bit of grinding, my worst job, hours suffering noise, vibration and a dust mask pressing on my nose. Still quite heavy so my gantry is still needed to lift onto a trolley.
Me and my red nose and white eye shadow. The Triped is getting lighter and more as I want it.
Back outside and a final wet polish to smooth and bring out the colour and shells.
Done! looks quite simple but took untold hours, I will have to take a picture on a sunny day to get some shadows and light on the matter, roll on summer.
Started at 1200kg, I can now lift it so I reckon it cannot weigh more than my modest 70kg, so I have wasted off more than 90% of the block I started with.
I will be exhibiting this sculpture at The Garden Gallery, Hampshire, the exhibition runs from Saturday 9 May until 18 July, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 - 5. http://www.gardengallery.uk.com