A record of the journey, from idea to outcome.
This is a series of organic shapes carved into basalt, an igneous (volcanic) rock native to the area in which I live.
Basalt is a very hard stone but is very rewarding to carve as it allows the sculptor so many options in textures and tone, ranging from the gentle beiges and tans of the weathered surfaces, to the soft greys of the carved surface to a glossy black when the carved surfaces are polished. Being an ingeous rock it has many of the qualities of granite 

The Concept

This was only a conceptual sketch to sell the idea to the selection committee for this year's Swell Sculpture Festival  held from  the 13th to the 22nd of September, 2013.

The idea was to make a sculpture that reflected on and referenced the firey volcanic beginnings of these stones.  I had no idea what would really emerge from the concept until I had sourced the stone and had a chance to see how the pieces interacted.

With the stone now in the studio area it became clear that the real oucome would be significantly different from the conceptual sketch. 


The Stone

after delivery...

laid out in roughly the final order and with the base of the largest rock (estimated as weighing about 750 kg) squared off and raised on its end


  Stone One

(weight estimated at about 340 kg)... the initial excavation

   Stone One ...the shaping


The yellow ochre mark in the smoothed part of the stone is natural and  provides a  counterpoint towhat will be shiny black polished surfaces. The rough surfaces are left as a visual contrast to the smooth  and shiny surfaces

  Stone 2 (weight estimated at 550kg) ...the initial excavation



Stone 3...weighs about 750 kg.  Three 100 m wide holes were bored through the stone , taking roughly 1.5 hours per hole

Stone 3...Basalt has to be drilled using a diamond tipped core drill that is cooled by large quantities of water (note the hose connection on the drill) flowing through the drill bit.  That necessitates working in waterproof over-clothes.

The yellow stuff seemingly coming out of the hole is urethane expanding foam sprayed onto the surface of the stone. Without the foam to hold it in position,  the core drill bit would be impossible to control before it penetrates the surface of the rock


Stone 3...The holes are then widened and the entry shaped. This image was taken just before a $150 tungsten chisel broke thanks to metal fatigue.  

The technique of cutting into the stone with a diamond saw in order to remove material quickly is clearly illustrated here.  Material is removed by hitting the weakened stone with pitching chisel and point

 ...and moving on, with finer more controllable cuts as one gets closer to the final surface.



The Final  Result.

Stone #1 has a deep crack across the centre which can be clearly seen in this image.  This  split is millenia old as it has oxidised (weathered) along a good part of its length  creating a blob-like tan marking in the basalt.  This oxidation made me reflect on the beginings of this rock in the firey belly of a volcano. So I wondered if I could reference that birth process by enlarging several small and minor surface cracks and then filling those with a red epoxy.

This is the result Element  #1 of this work and ...


...which I extended to the rest of the elements

Element #2 view looking down from the top

Looking Elment #2 from the the side

  Element #3 front

  Element # 3 rear - Still requiring a bit of buffing


  Element #4

A few more coats of polish and  all the elements of this work were ready for the Swell Sculpture Festival held  in Currumbin on the Queensland Gold Coast in September 2013

  The four final pieces together

At the  Swell Sculpture Festival the stone rested directly on grass encouraging direct  public interaction.