Critique Request Acanthus bowl - critique request

Gargoyle

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Thread starter #1
I'm working on a very large limestone urn- 58" diameter, 44" tall. The lower center section has acanthus leaves, I'm laying out the design for that part.

The full side elevation drawing is preliminary, just to show how it all goes together. The 1/4 round drawing is a bottom view, that's the one I want critiqued. In particular the small in between leaf doesn't feel right.

Thanks!
Acan-bowl-pattern-1.jpg Large-vase.jpg
 

Red Green

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#2
Mr. Gargoyle,

I’m not an expert at, well at anything come to think of it, however I believe the problem is the leaves beside the center small leaf. They should bend in toward the center leaf and be smaller than the leaves above them. I think that would give it more of a balanced look anyway, as I said just an opinion.

Bob
 

sam

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#3
Me, I think it's fantastic and I can visualize it deeply carved in stone. And I can't wait to see it when it is.

Point out exactly what you're unsure of Walter.
 

rod

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#4
Walter,

This looks like a major piece of work, and your drawings do look wonderful. I will defer to the real experts on acanthus leaf for useful critiques.

As a lathe turner, I am curious as to how a stone carver goes about a large round work like this, yet encrusted with carvings. Do you have a massive turntable with vertical axis, and when roughing out, can you do partial rotations to either rough cut, or at least monitor where you are with respect to geometry?

Rod
 

Gargoyle

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I like Red Green's suggestion, I tried to incorporate that some in this sketch- also more s-curve to the leaf stems. Still, anything that jumps out at you, let me know.
Acanthus-bowl-pattern2-edited.jpg

I worked with a stonemill that has a large CNC machine, since their lathe can only turn up to 24" diameter (by 12' long) and this is about 42" diameter. They did turn the bases and caps for the 8 smaller urns (in the background in one of these photos) on the lathe.

Acanthus-bowl-forklift-1.jpg Acanthus-bowl-forklift-2.jpg
 

mtgraver

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#7
Beautiful Walter, The sketch gives a spiral movement on the full relief leaves, is that indeed the case? if so what I focus on is the movement of the center leaves confuse that movement. How about a more c-arc into the main leaves and bring the center leaf behind flow over those in a low relief to give an undulating effect or would that not fill the space enough in between the main elements? Probably clear as mud and definitely not a critique lol, I believe if you started carving it would flow beautifully. I'm looking forward to watch the progress if you will grace us with the progress. I'm always in awe of your work. Thanks
Mark
 
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#9
Hi Walter

The back leaf still dosn't look right even in the second draft. Too much is hidden behind the foreground leaves to the left and right. The back leaf has no definition apart from the very top and could be anything.

Cheers
Andrew
 

Gargoyle

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Thread starter #10
I agree about the problems with the small in-between leaf; I laid out the first large one on the stone, and once I repeat it I'll look at the space in between. One thing I'm trying to look at while laying this out- it won't ever be seen from this angle, since this is the lower section of the bowl. It will be viewed from the side (reference the elevation drawing in the original post). That creates a different perspective/foreshortening, so I tried to visualize what that will be like.

acanthus-bowl-layout.jpg Acanthus-bowl-layout-detail.jpg

The stone is set up on an easel; since it was hollowed out it's probably only about 250 lbs. (tilting it up onto the easel was fun- I didn't want to use slings and a hoist, because slings can slide off the curve, and then they get pinched against the easel and are hard to remove, so two people and a fork lift helped me instead).
 
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Red Green

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#11
Mr. Gargoyle,

Sculpturing stone is a fantastic art. I noticed in the elevation drawing the leaves have greater articulation than the apparent cutting marks, I feel like you are just getting warmed up. It is obviously difficult to show others with chalk reference marks the three dimensional image you create in your mind. It is probably even more of a mystery to many that with such simple marks your hands will find the sculpture in the stone. How high will the section be when installed?

Bob
 

Gargoyle

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It's going about eye level, behind a low hedge, so people will generally view it either from 5 feet back or from the street, about 25 feet back. It's going in a niche, so no one will be able to see the back side, but it still will be fully carved on all sides.
 

Gargoyle

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Just an update, I'm still slowly digging my way through this project. The stone has beautiful color and tone, but it has a lot of issues that cause me to have to work slowly and carefully- dry seams (open veins where the stone on both sides isn't fully bonded together), shell and fossil inclusions that can pop out, very soft crumbly areas.

There are a total of 9 urns- eight of one design (four are about 22" diameter, four about 24" diameter) and the big one, 5' diameter, is the one I discussed earlier in this thread.
Urns-four-done-s2.jpg Urns-four-done-s.jpg
 

rod

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#14
Indeed, Walter,

This is a major project, and it appears that the results are excellent. I shall infer that the discontinuities in the stone can be a major headache for a carver, notwithstanding the marvel that the skeletons of prehistoric life forms are popping out of the stone, indeed being a part of it. This is not usually a problem for metal engravers who are at least blessed with homogenous materials ( but not always!).

I am so glad you are a member of this forum. You add a fascinating point of view, and there is plenty of overlap in the cusp.

best

Rod
 

Gargoyle

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The seams are natural veins in the block. Some run with the bedding planes (the natural strata of the rock- think of the stata you see when a highway is cut through a cliff edge) but there are also some that are perpendicular to the bedding planes, so those are settlement fractures.
Austin-large-urn-bottom-middle.jpg

Here's how I received the stone from France:

french-limestone-delivery.jpg french-limestone-delivery-2.jpg
 

Roger Bleile

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#18
Walter,

Thanks for keeping us posted on this project. Your work is extraordinary. I expect that you are the "go to" person for ornamental stone carving in the USA. What amazes me is how you can duplicate the same carving on several objects. Can you briefly explain how you do that?

Thanks,
Roger
 

Chujybear

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#19
i work in argillite.. on bigger works must contend with quartz?? veins
i feel you pain..
tho i love the idea of encountering prehistoric shellfish in the work :)
 

Gargoyle

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If you want shells in the stone, go with the stuff from Green River Stone. They quarry material with lots of big fossils, split it to expose the fossil, and then clean it up to make it stand out.

Check the link for about/laboratory to see how they do it. I've always wanted to use a large slab of their stone in a fireplace, haven't had the chance.
For carving I want consistent, reliable, predictable stone.
 

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