“Window Rock, A Love Affair”, Colorado marble, 62” tall. I collect stones that I like the shape of. I look at a stone that I bought or that was given to me and ponder and ponder and ponder. I’m fairly versatile so I may think “landscape” or I may think figurative. In this case, I chose to go landscape. I carved it in Santa Fe, NM. over a 9 month period. It is a sand blown molded mountain that has contained Native American Cave dwellings. I took the idea to Europe for the Gothic Arches and added the Nurturing Bird Monster/Vine Creature who loves this mountain and has clutched it for a very long time. Her offspring/limbs cling equally lovingly to the rock. Hello stone carvers and other artists and craftsmen and craftswomen.Ancient woman”, Carrara marble on steel and wood base, 20” high. Carving a sweet head or face of a fragment of good rock is fun, but nobody says it’s easy. Faces are extremely difficult. Who doesn’t know that?
We are a family who think alike and we share similar approaches to our work. I would like to share what my approach to my marble carving is. First of all, I need the stone in front of me to work from. In all of my life I have never had a perfectly cut stone to work from, nor have I ever wanted one.
I went to art school at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) because I had carved many sculptures in wood and friends urged me to go to art school. In Art School I found an abandoned chunk of Greek Marble that was white with big crystals and nobody claimed it. I carved my version of the face of Morpheus, the god of Dreams and that was the starting point for me.
One can look back on that time and wonder, “Why would this be a starting point for the need to carve marble?” Is it that I come from Norwegian carpenters and boat makers and stone masons? Perhaps. My Dad is buried in a cemetery in Sioux Falls, So. Dakota where his Dad built the stone walls and the tower in that cemetery out of rounded river rocks from the Sioux river. One wonders about that and one wonders why I would be the first person in our family to pursue art in marble carving.
I went to Italy: first Florence, then Pietrasanta and finally Rome and how can you resist all of those influences?
“Waterfall”, Colorado Marble with Minnesota granite base, 52” tall. I think I made this after a good stint of carving in Italy. Roughly speaking, there are three generations of men: the vibrant current generation in the front, the aging generation in the background and the new generation of waterfall on the left with nurturing leaves to support it. The lizards crawling and scampering are symbolically protective.My Approach to marble carving is simple… I start with a good sound piece of marble that I like the shape of. One can always change the shape even without knowing what you are going to carve. You all have this. Faith, that your diving into this stone is gonna carry you through to a decent outcome. I rarely know where I’m going at first but the faith that you feel that you have with that shape of stone carries the day.
Often, I have a sense of what I’m after but the Faith in the stone usually gives you the idea of where to insert this or that. I should mention here that this approach works mostly on the premise that you are winging it and you don’t care exactly where you end up. Hopefully, in a good result, however.
I have carved many tombstones in Rome in relief, and some tombstones in Minnesota where you need to keep in step to what people expect of you for that paycheck. However, to have a chunk of marble with the freedom to carve whatever comes to mind is a nice place to be.
Can I qualify, "a nice place to be?” Is not, "carving marble" a Nightmare in and of itself? Headaches galore? Horrible dreams of what decisions you could make and didn’t make? How you got cocky and took too much off of here and how do you compensate for it over there? Carving marble is a nightmare but one should go forth and suffer. Because when it’s done to your satisfaction, you can say…
“Family Tree”, Tennessee black limestone, 34” tall.This bust has six breasts and represents three generations of women. The “Tree” of the Family Tree braids up the back.
“Spirit Island”, Carrara marble, 32” wide. We, up here on Lake Minnetonka have a Spirit Island, small and uninhabitable, yet who wouldn’t want to give it a try? I imagined a piece of earthly land that has endured multiple thousands of civilizations and architectural styles. I made a time conglomerate of all of those periods of time and architecture and wrapped them into one “Spirit Island.” “Venus”, maybe Indiana marble, 20” tall. I found it on a pile of Minnesota granite at A Cold Springs Granite site and the staff thought it was a piece of crap. I asked can I buy it, and they said get that thing out of here. So I did. Honestly, this torso is the only totally hand carved sculpture in this group except for the black granite base which was manufactured at a stone plant. I carved it at a place with no compressor, so I forged my own chisels and really messed up the tempering until I finally got the hang of it. “Mary Magdalene”, Portuguese Marble on Wood Base with gold and silver leaf, 37” tall. My attempt at the Heroine of the Bible for surviving the male dominated editing process. In my way I wanted to show her as deeply physical and having her neck extend into the spiritual world. The dark vein on her cheek indicates her scars from embattling the system as she evidently did.“Roman Numeral One”, with French marble base, Colorado marble, 30” tall. This is your basic bald guy with a long beard who is presented on a roman column. I am calling all my roman columns Roman Numerals.
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