I have to tell you what I did this last Saturday. Many of you know that I am an artist. I paint in watercolors, pastels, and acrylics as well as in oils. I also make beads out of Sculpey clay. I get obsessed which can be troublesome because I don’t want to do anything but art. I have been experiencing a little burn out lately. I want to write, as well as painting and working in other mediums.
Wayne Harshberger is a local stone sculptor. He is also a stone mason and commissioned sculptor. We love to aggravate and irritate each other in a good way. We have been in many art shows as well as competitions together. I love to tease him about creating his own competition. Many of his students have won awards and so has he. His sculptures go for thousands of dollars.
When I run into him he will remind me that I have said that I am going to take a class from him for years. This last Saturday I took a workshop with him. I was going to back out because the weather was so nice but decided that I needed to do something inspiring and different. I am so glad that I did.
Wayne supplied all the tools needed for the class including alabaster stone for carving. I thought that it would be more difficult to carve the stone because it seems that stone is very hard. We used files, little hack saws and other various tools. Wayne used a mason’s drill to put holes in the bottom of our sculptures for mounting.
We were to try to find a design in the rock that we chose. I picked one that was white with a little pink vein that ran through it. I wasn’t thrilled with the shape but just about then, one of the other students put her stone down and picked out another one. I used the one that she discarded.
Everyone else did abstract designs. I saw a face in my stone. One of the students told me later, “Shana I have a feeling you would have found a face in any of the other rocks too.” She is probably right. I see faces and animals as well as figures in everything.
After we got about half way done with our carvings we critiqued each other’s work. We said what we liked and what we would do to continue the design. It was very helpful and constructive criticism. One of the things that Wayne told us not to do was to say a piece was “nice.” Nice according to Wayne is an insult. You can say awesome, beautiful, cool, etc, just not “nice.”
When the carving was complete we went through a series of 5 sandings with different grades of sandpaper. The last three sandings were wet. He was very critical, making sure that there were no rough spots, except where we left texture on our pieces. Smooth and rough add contrast to your piece.
Waxing the piece was the last step. We used a paste wax, allowed the piece to dry and then buffed it. We were all very happy with our completed pieces. I already know what I am asking for this Christmas. The supplies are not expensive. I can get alabaster from Wayne and the rest of the supplies you can get at a hardware store. I loved this workshop. Wayne Harshberger is the only teacher in the area who teaches stone sculpting.