Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dear Ceramics SA members,

Yes, sandstone is HARD and it is HEAVY, somehow I had underestimated both aspects, and I put quite a lot of strain on my trailer and two 4x4 s, which mastered the task of transporting the stone the 80km from Fouriesburg to Clocolan  bravely.
Putting the stones into position was also backbreaking work, thankfully we had the help of some very willing and slightly bemused farm labour
Once our stones were firmly placed on tables, the actual process of chiseling into the stone was fairly straight forward. Some special chisels called ‘points’, or ‘Spitzeisen’ were given to us by Florian, together  with a one pound hammer and / or a wooden mallet. With a vague image in our heads, and some references from books as to what we wanted to carve we got to work.
I found that I entered into a kind of ‘dialogue’ with the stone and slowly but surely the shape revealed itself but not without changes that somehow came from the stone.
As ceramicists, most of us are fairly strong and used to carrying weight. Therefore strong arms together with a good rhythm patience and tenacity, as well as the occasional help of the angle grinder get you a long way.  
The whole experience was so opposite to that of building up with clay, however the naturalness and honesty of the material would, I think, appeal to all ceramicists.
What I love most, is that I need not fettle, fire or glaze my sculpture , it stands proudly at my entrance as testimony to a good hard working weekend in one of the most beautiful parts of our country.
We hope to do this again next year, and hope to see you there.
The images shown are from a series compiled by Adrian Whines who joined us on the sandstone weekend and I could not have put together a better selection of pictures to capture the spirit of the weekend.

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