Sculpture – stone and glass

Small Object Making class: start at the beginning:

Another fantastic class at Sculpture tonight. Next week I hope to get down there a bit more often now that some of my extra training has finished. I’ve still some material experimenting to go and must get working on my two final projects. Today I decided to tackle two materials I have little to no experience with, stone and glass. The stone is limestone, we were allowed to appropriate chucks of offcuts from the larger sculptures some other students are making. It is very soft and porous and easy to work for a total beginner. My chunk of stone was roughly pyramidal, about the size of your hand with all your fingers stretched out. This is what I turned it into:

It’s actually a proper three dimensional shape, not just a flat plane, hard to show in a photo without angled lighting:

I’m thrilled! I don’t have the hang of knowing what I’m trying to accomplish yet, a good sculptor would have probably been able to remove chunks of unneeded material at the outset. I filed most of it away by hand, feeling my way along. The risk is a little like cutting a fringe when you’re inexperienced… you just cut a bit off the right side to straighten it up, then just off the left to straighten, then the right again… before you know it, you’ve sculpted a pebble and a lot of sand.

I also had a try at working with some glass. We don’t have the equipment to melt and shape it, but that wasn’t what I had in mind. I wanted to be able to take the sharp edges off broken glass so I could safely create shapes with it. Well, here’s the process:

Find some glass – in my case, an old light shade from the hard rubbish collection. Yay recycling! Then safely break in a contained space with cloth over the top to prevent it flying everywhere:

Next, carefully take off the sharp broken edges with wet and dry sandpaper. The glass dust this forms is quite nasty stuff, you don’t want any in your skin, eyes, or other art projects, so it’s best done in the sink, re wetting often.

I had time to make two shards safe to handle and I was so pleased with the result! This is something I can do at home to be able to start making art with glass in a small way.

The softened edges of the sanded glass reminded me of sea glass, those dusky glass pebbles all worn down by the sand. So I asked our lecturer about sandblasting, and he put a small piece in the massive sandblasting machine and abraded one side. It looks awesome! (sandblasted on the left, un-sanded clear glass shard on the right)

So I’m going to buy some wet and dry sandpaper and keep experimenting at home… I think my second sculpture project may be made out of glass. I really like the sound glass makes when it chimes gently, so I’m thinking about suspending lengths of sanded glass in a kind of beach inspired wind chime… I also like the way light plays through the glass so the other thought is using it to create interesting shadows.

Lastly, I’ve has another try at a home made chop with my dremel engraving tool and this time I’m really pleased with the result, a little flying dragon:

Thursdays are a really long day at the moment, but they’re pretty awesome. 🙂
To see the next post in this series

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