SculpturesAt the beginning of the school year, when the days were still hot and long, the Hartsbrook campus resounded with the clinking and ringing of chisel against stone. This was the senior class working diligently at the sweaty business of stone carving. They began the process by “dressing the stone”, which is simply a rounding off of any sharp, hard edges. This brings out the underlying curves inherent in each stone, and is a good jumping off point for further exploration.

A finely dressed stone is like a blank canvas, waiting for each student to bring inspiration to it. An important part of the process however, is to not impose one’s will too strongly. For example, a student may come to the stone with a pre-conceived plan, but the stone also has a say in what it is to become. There are various inclusions, natural cracks as well as the general shape of the stone which must be taken into account. Stone carving is very much a dialogue between the artist and the material. If the artist tries to force the stone by using the wrong tool, by becoming too aggressive etc. the stone will break, almost in protest against its mistreatment. It was the students’ goal to work in harmony with the forms inherent in each stone.

Following the use of chisels to bring dynamic movement and drama to the stone, the students settled into the methodical task of filing and sanding. This part of the project was quite slow, and some found it tedious, but all persevered! The slow, repetitive process of shaping the stone into something beautiful, was a task the seniors tackled with unwavering energy. Each stone expresses the outcome of their unique, productive dialogue with a piece of alabaster.

Naomi Henderson
High School Art