Summer Carving Intensive Part 5: The Final Week

It’s the end of my summer class and it was fantastic!  There’s nothing better (or at least very little better, in my opinion) than spending summer mornings outside carving stone.  No, as you can see, I did not finish the sculpture.  But I still accomplished a lot in six weeks!  The block of stone looked like this in the middle of the first week:

Day 3 - front
Middle of the first week – front

And six weeks later, this is how I left it on my last day of class (Over the last two weeks I added another block of stone that measured about a cubic foot and turned it into a bird!):

End of class - front
End of class – front
End of class - back
End of class – back

That’s probably over fifty pounds of material taken off and unknown quantities of sweat!  And an immeasurable amount of fun.

Lucky for me, my professor has been in the business of carving stone and helping students realize their ideas for a few decades.  He understands the time investment to bring out a sculpture.  I don’t think he ever expected me to finish it in six weeks – but he doesn’t believe in telling students not to attempt the ideas that excite them no matter how impossible.  Instead, he encourages them to make what excites them and grades on progress.  Making art in school and being graded on it is a difficult predicament.  As we go through our classes we are expected to make larger and more complicated sculptures but a semester is still only as long as a semester.

Some teachers, like my carving teacher, make the decision easy – try the ambitious idea, work hard and see how far you can get.  For me, that’s my favorite teaching style.  I love the freedom to follow through with the ideas I’m truly passionate about.  I think following those passions is important in finding my path as an artist.  If each idea builds on the ones before it, then I would rather those stepping stones (Hah, pun!) be ones I care about.

And even better – I don’t have to leave the sculpture unfinished!  I’ve been promised that it will wait in the studio for me until I’m back in fall semester.  The six weeks in between will be a bit rough.  I don’t like stepping away from projects when I’m still full of momentum to work on them.  But waiting is immensely better than leaving it forever.  So my little widowbird will have to wait patiently for his mate until the fall.

And in the meantime, I have jewelry to make!  A gallery has asked to carry my work and I couldn’t be more excited!  So it’s back to working in my home studio for the next few weeks and it will be good to work at home again!

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