Cultivating the Artist’s Process
Cultivation is evocative of purposeful work. It conjures an image of hands going to work creating a condition to foster, develop and grow. Cultivation speaks of planting seeds and of harvest. For the artist, cultivation is the work process.
Creating a commissioned work involves careful specification of material and selecting a stone that willingly accepts the size, shape, and spirit of the subject. This is through careful discernment; not all stones want to be all images, some simply don’t fit. A stone needs to match it’s purpose, like a marriage. Form does in fact, follow function.
Alternately, the artist may “meet a stone” and sees things in it as one might do when laying on the grass looking up at puffy clouds. Once you see the image- it is almost impossible NOT to see it, right? These are the times where a stone and an image unite with ease and the finished carving always carries a resonance of grace when this occurs.
Alexandra’s stone inventory at her studio is collected from around the world. Some projects require special ordering, others are selected from The Nursery. Regardless of origin, a stone is chosen, and then a myriad of steps take place.
Design. Usually sketches and or clay models are made, but often there are times a direct carve is the logical path.
Exploration. Alexandra works with both hand and power tools. She is old-fashion in some ways because she still does her roughing out with a hammer and a single point long enough to really get to know the stone.
Rough Out. This step often involves diamond blades,angle grinders and lots of dust for roughing out, then to pneumatic air hammers.
Finishing. Alexandra always returns back to hand tools in the end. hand filing, sanding and finishing give work life that is often lost when power tools speed over a surface, especially on figurative and organic forms.
Alexandra prefers carving limestone and marble for it’s compatibility with figurative imagery, but also carves sandstone, granite, or basalt when the project calls for it. She also works in clay and bronze. Cast bronze allows for imagery stone simply does not want to be. Typically, Alexandra creates all concept drawings, models, and full size clay works herself. She then works closely with a professional foundry to create the molds, wax and final bronze sculpture. Please visit the LINK page to learn more about her trusted stone and tool suppliers and bronze foundry who she considers partners in her craft.