Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Studio Worktable




michael binkley sculptor stone sculpture marble seravezza italy studio carving sculpting

I’ve been working at the studio of my friends, Nicolas Bertoux and Cynthia Sah in Seravezza. Italy now for three weeks, looking to entice my Muse back. I am happy to report she has been waiting for me and has returned to my side – just as Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in Big Magic, which I read this summer.

I have been a direct carver for almost four decades and have been inspired by the shape, colour and texture of a stone before being work in it. One such piece – a block of Carrara calacatta oro marble – caught my eye in Nicolas’ yard. It was sawn on five sides and it was obvious a major fault ran down its centre. I bought it and knocked it in half. The thinner side has become a bas relief representational female nude. The larger side had weaknesses that I knocked off and was inspired to carve another nude lying supine on the top.

I was not listening to the stone very well. First, the knee and calf of the nude’s left leg broke off. In trying to salvage that and re-carve deeper down, the stone broke almost in half again!

So I communed with it some more and looked at the line of the broken knee.

michael binkley sculptor stone sculpture marble seravezza italy studio carving sculpting

That line has become the shoulder of an abstract reclining figure instead. The stone seems to be happy with this idea.

michael binkley sculptor stone sculpture marble seravezza italy studio carving sculpting

The figure will be two pieces, a la Henry Moore and I’ve smoothed the join surfaces to echo each other. I’ve worked the piece to the point of setting it aside for shipping and will complete it in my Squamish studio next year. I plan to mount it on a flat base in the attitude of the first photo of this post.

michael binkley sculptor stone sculpture marble seravezza italy studio carving sculpting

It will have a matte finish so the colours of the marble will show, yet shadows and the stone’s translucency will be accentuated.

Sometimes, I don’t get the idea right the first time and the stone speaks back. This is one of those time. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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