I used to sculpt

Rocks mostly. I sculpted (carved) some wood, too, but it was lava-rock, soapstone and marble that I did mostly. And I was almost good at it. I really liked it. I may still do…?

I used to race motorcycles, play sports and paint in acrylics and oils, too, but I was only semi-good at sculpting and, to be fair, mediocre is the better description. Adequate, perhaps? I just liked sculpting more than anything else and passion really is the primary muse.

I could just look at a rock and see something deep within it that was obviously needing just a little help to get out. It was usually pretty obvious to me. “There is a sea lion in there!” In fact, it was just a lump of rock but, like watching clouds and daydreaming, one can see all sorts of things in blobs. And I did.


I haven’t sculpted in almost 35 years and, even then, that last piece came about fifteen years after the previous one. I have not really done much of anything in over 50 years. Claiming the ability to sculpt is now a spurious, false, weak-at-best, fantasy-at-worst falsehood. I am a sad, sculpting fraud. But I might also be an aspiring sculpting fraud. I am thinking about whacking at a few rocks again.

I say ‘fraud’ not because of false claims but primarily because I have the guilty proof of being a poseur right in front of me. I still have a half a dozen large soapstone and marble ‘blobs’ in the workshop and have had them for even longer than I have had the workshop. Seems I am clinging to my rocks (there’s a phrase, eh?). Maybe I am clinging to my past? I am definitely clinging to something……heavy and hard to move………

It is time to sculpt or get off the rock! So, yesterday, I started. A bit. I got out a blob of marble and looked at it and looked at it. You know what I saw? I saw a blob of marble. No sea lions. No nothing. When that ‘blankness’ comes, it is a good idea to just start whacking. Maybe the ‘vision’ is a little deeper in there, ya know? So, I got out the grinder and started to attack the marble. It turns out I have two pieces of marble on the same scale of hardness as diamonds. Two grinder disks later, I have an almost perfectly intact blob.


The marble may be too hard. I do not have enough cutting discs at this rate. I have a small boulder of Onyx, too. It is definitely too hard – the discs barely scratch it. It seems half my inventory (about two hundred pounds or so) is too hard to work with but I had carried them all around for a long time before just learning that. And that now presents as a bit of a challenge for me (not quite as motivating as a passionate muse but still a push of sorts). I am gonna keep whacking, fer sure, but I have also sent away for a few more stone-whacking tools. No, I am not persistent, persevering or passionate………

….stupid shows up a bit differently for me.

PS. If sculping art pieces does not come to any kind of aesthetically pleasing fruition, knowing how to split granite is a close second of achievement for me. I have a lot of protruding rocks on the site and some kind of get in the way at times. I may be able to ‘whack off’ a few sticky-out parts. That would be good. I tried doing that today, too. And it is amazing what kind of rubble one can make with a stone chisel. Uncontrolled, unskilled, pointless rubble but still, I made some beautiful rubble!


Maybe I should stick to rubble-making?

4 thoughts on “I used to sculpt

  1. Well.
    When I saw the first picture I thought,
    “Thats one hell of a perfect marble cylinder you carved! The Stone masons at the Acropolis would be in awe.”
    Alas…. the next pic brought me from Mt Olympus…. back down to earth..


  2. Years ago ( mid 1970’s ) I was in Peggy’s Cove Nova Scotia on a school trip and watched William de Garthe carve a “story of the village” into a low granite wall .
    He died before it was finished but the carvers/masons carried on..
    I went back a few years ago and its impressive.


    Perhaps thats your destiny……


  3. Had a bit the same reaction as noncon…I thought, damn, 2 artists living under the same roof, and he has been hiding this from us readers! But then, what is a man without dreams and aspirations! I also bought some books about furniture making, even bought some tools…and did nothing with it. I have read some parts of the book, and I really admire the “old school” furniture makers. So I think it is good that you take up again this artform, why else would you have been carrying these marble and onyx blocks to the island? But again, you put a big smile on my face on this sunny friday morning, you kinda made may day (again), so you might not be the best stone carver in the world, but for sure you have lots of other talents….keep writing these blogs please, there are little masterpieces for your small number of hardcore followers!


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