How I Carve an Abstract Stone Sculpture

The Creative Process

Thought I would just show you, How I Carve an Abstract Stone Sculpture. In this particular piece, I was inspired by different curves, how they cross and intersect. It’s a recurrent theme that has been inspiring me for many of my work,s. It’s been carved in a  piece of Portland Basebed Stone, which has a beautiful fine grain. Perfect for a light polish.

The Idea

Sketch of " Cut" Sculpture.
Sketch of ” Cut ” Sculpture

To begin with I make a few rough sketches. Giving me different proportions and forms. As you can see there’s another idea on the page for reflecting pebbles. Will have to get back to that one. From one initial idea, there can be so many variations. It’s difficult for your hands to keep up with your imagination.

The Portland Stone

The next stage is finding the right stone for the sculpture. I find it really helpful to have a stock of different sized stones to choose from. After selecting the appropriate stone. ( I always check the grain of the Stone, making sure there are no faults.) However it wouldnt be the first time, when finishing a piece a crack appears! I then draw out the profile by hand which gives me a reference to the final form. Of course Portland has a couple of good quarries where you can find some off-cuts to carve. I source my stones at Albion Stone.

Drawing the Profile
Sketching out of profile on Block of Portland Stone

Carving The Profile

Then I use stone grinders and spinners to rough out the profile. While I’m carving I can then refine the curves, finding the correct shape.

Roughing out stone sculpture
Carving The Profile

Roughing out the Form

Sculpture is the Art of the Hole and the Bump.

Auguste Rodin

The next step is to find its three-dimensional form. I begin by drawing out chamfers which are progressively carved smaller and smaller. In brief the width of each chamfer determines the finished shape.

Shaping the form
Roughing out main form.

Refining the Form

The sculpture is then refined using files and different grades of abrasive papers. Its during this process, that I work out any small bumps or dips. All and all the imperfections that are not seen by eye are really found out by my hands passing over the surface. After I then work out the base, trying different stones, sizes, textures. I then drill through each stone to insert stainless steel rods. Finally, these are fixed in place by using a strong stone epoxy glue.

Ready for assemble
The Refined Shape with Base

Final Abstract Stone Sculpture

"Cut" Portland Stone Sculpture by John Davey
“Cut” Portland Stone

So I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into how I work. Moreover, I will be busy getting ready for the Dorset Art Weeks in a few months. Additionally tutoring a few taster stone carving workshops for those that fancy getting creative and will be setting dates, details as we come closer. So without delay its time to get chipping!