What an amazing weekend, the weather was truly wonderful and I came away with both the prizes judged by my peers and the general public as best carving. Gibson tool company kindly donated the prize of £200 in vouchers which I was extremely grateful to receive and you will be glad to hear that I put it towards a Woodpecker-I will write a separate post about how great a tool this is!
We were all given a piece of local sandstone, it was reasonably soft but incredibly abrasive, which meant we were able to cut away the excess quite quickly but our chisels were blunted very quickly-the dust was like fine beach sand. Obviously it was important to wear a dust mask as sandstone dust is very bad for your health.
As I managed to suss out the stone last year, I was able to choose a piece that I knew was harder and drier than some of the other bits. I had already decided on the size I wanted-12x12x7 inches and therefore had my design ready before I started.
The theme was ‘releasing the angels and freeing the spirit’ so I settled on the idea of carving an angel blowing something out her hand. I made a preliminary sketch, to give myself an idea of the proportions that I wanted to use, but also so people could have an indication of what I wanted to achieve-alot in an incredibly short space of time, believe me.
As you can see I got straight on with roughing out the face and working out the depths.
I decided to add the second wing, I think it looks better than the original idea-this is why it is just a rough sketch! By Saturday afternoon I was happy with how the face looked, and I started to get all the other details in place.
You may be asking yourselves why I can’t create this kind of carving every day, well the simple answer is because it would probably put me in an early grave. The adrenalin, the pressure of knowing what you are creating has to be finished in time for the auction, being surrounded by all my peers. Also there is also the desire not to let anyone down. There is an extreme level of focus that we have reserved for this kind of event. It is incredibly exhausting and what we create is un-repeatable under normal circumstances.
As I had made such a good start on Saturday, I was able to concentrate on defining the details in order to cast shadows and give the illusion of depth. In actual fact, the face is only 3 inches in, but this is the beauty of carving a relief-also the challenge. Something I could only have hoped to achieve but I am extremely proud of what I did achieve and glad that what I created contributed £660 to the restoration fund of St Laurence’s Church in Ludlow.
I would like to thank all the organisers for looking after us all so well and keeping us fed and watered during the event-see you next year