Stone is a very versatile material which has been used for various purposes throughout history. Sculptures, stone fireplaces, counter tops, pillars and many other uses have been identified of various natural stones. In order to beautify the stones further, carving of intricate designs took place. These designs were initially carved manually, but due to the evolving technology, it is now crafted with the help of computerized machinery.
There are various methods of carving into stone, one of them being Direct Carving. Traditional sculpting methods utilize stencils, templates and maquettes, using which precise designs could be carved, without any flaw. On the other hand, Direct Carving is a much more intuitive approach wherein the sculptor observes the subject and carves similarly into the stone. This method brings out the essence of the stone and preserves the natural qualities of the material.
The Process of Direct Carving
The art of carving is a harmonizing of traditional training with the intuitive styles of the sculptor. The process begins by first selecting a block of stone that the artist deems appropriate for the sculpture. The stone must possess attractive color, texture and shape that complement the desired design. The artist then explores the pre existing nuances of the stone such as the inherent designs within the stone, its veins and grains etc. Now using a variety of hand tools such as chisels and rasps, and some power tools that consist of diamond blades the reductive process begins. Under this process the material is subtracted and the natural characteristics of the stone are exaggerated.
One of the high points of Direct Carving is the fact that while working upon it, many unexpected new ideas and perspectives are unfolded. The emerging forms influence the formation of the sculpture and help the sculptor to proceed further. The form becomes a direction with the help of which the artist is able to proceed and carve out the design. As the carving goes further, the next steps become obvious for the artist. This unorchestrated approach by gives the artist freedom of expression and is able to build intricate sculptures.
Once the design is completed, the sculpture goes through many refinement steps. The surface is chiseled to give a more appropriate look that is honed and smoothed using abrasive material like diamond blades, and grinding and honing wheels. Many times sculptures are even given high luster look using diamond polishing pads. Depending upon the characteristics of the stone, various finishes can be given to the sculpture. Now once the sculpture is complete and is given the appropriate finish, a base material is chosen of a complementary stone. This base and the sculpture are then attached by drilling hole and bolting them together. At the end the sculpture is cleaned and applied with a coat of sealer which protects it from the outside elements.
Employing Direct Carving method helps to combine the qualities and natural beauty of the stone with the artistic vision of the sculptor to transform a single block of stone into a marvelous creation that is not only beautiful but is an exemplary creation of the mind.