Some years ago a shopping channel was selling blocks of stone and the tools to sculpt them. I bought a small flat block, much the size of a standard brick, and a cube of limestone and the instructions to turn it into a gargoyle. At the time I had attended about three sessions of sculpture, bought chisels and a mask and turned the top half of a breeze block into the dancing baby from Ali McBeale, the television series. Then I broke my arm. The half dancing baby was consigned to the porch and the limestone blocks were put in the garage.
I re-encountered the blocks when clearing out the garage prior to its destruction. I placed them under the kitchen counter to a chorus from the OH of: Do they have to be there? What are they? They are in the way. etc.
Before the garage was demolished we had a nice brick arch to the side of the house, housing a gate leading up the path to the garden. The pillar part of the arch was also knocked down to about knee level. I bethought me of my blocks, retrieved the lesser block and carved our house number on it and a couple of stylised flowers.
As everywhere downstairs is either piled high with stuff, or has no ceiling, or in some cases, wall, the only place I could find to sculpt was the lounge, which currently has two kilns and boxes full of crafting stuff. It also, crucially has a small table, which by hook and by crook I have kept clear. Upon this, on plastic sheeting I began to sculpt.
The OH was loud in his disapproval, angry at the dust, scornful of the result and full of misery.
When I began on the block I placed my Victorian scrap screen, draped with a sheet, between me and the rest of the room, which was fine up to the point where I abandoned my chisel and muttering: sod this for a game of soldiers, got out my Dremel. Oh I do love a power tool. It has the ability to get through limestone fast, make smoother cuts than a chisel and cover every surface with a thick layer of limestone dust. I was wearing a dust mask, though not my twin filter respirator as limestone has much larger particles than porcelain.
The OH was loud to the point of shouting, insisted I clear the table so he could put his porridge there, said the result would be awful, I hadn’t asked his permission etc etc and I could do it on the lawn.
In the end I’m in his shed, as mine is full of the contents of the garage and, apart from the bit where I come out to get shouted at and told what rubbish I am, I am loving it.
I am not doing a gargoyle, I am doing the head of a bloke. He will be coming through the wall. He has a headband and an earring. I woke in the night and knew his name was Frisco. He will be recessed into the bricks, as limestone is quite porous and I’d like him to stay white for a while.
If he does turn out rubbish as predicted by the OH, we do have a handy skip on the drive but I don’t think he will. Thirty years of sculpting dolls does give you an idea of what a face looks like.
And why is a bloke coming out of the wall? Well, dear, a woman would just open the gate and walk through.