See My Indiana Limestone Vessel Carved from Beginning to End by Mike McCarthy

Over the last few weeks, I have taken a little time away from a larger project to carve a smaller piece. I always have several pieces going at the same time, especially when I am working on a larger work. In the video below, I have recorded a time lapse of the carving of this sculpture from its start as a rough block, all the way to the finish process. You will see that the most time spent is the sanding. It is the part that makes this piece of limestone able to hold the gloss sheen that the sealer adds. I also used linseed oil on this piece to give it some color. Watch the video and let me know what you think.

My First Video Over 300 Views and My Fastest to 100 Views by Mike McCarthy

On July 29th, I posted that I had hit a milestone on my YouTube site. I had posted 30 videos and one of them was at 221 views. Since then, I have posted a few more videos and have hit another milestone on views.

My most popular video is still the video on splitting limestone with feathers and wedges. It is a time-lapse video that shows me splitting the off-fall from one of my birds for "Cor Liberum". I know many folks who post on YouTube would laugh at being happy about getting a video over the 300 mark in views, but everyone has to start somewhere. This video currently has 328 views.

The other cool thing is that my videos are increasing in views faster now than they previously had. It is partly that I have been sharing them on this blog, but there must be something more to it than that. For example, the splitting limestone video was posted on August 20, 2017. My latest video, "Carving an Indiana Limestone Vessel" was posted August 28, 2018, and has already reached 108 views. While the splitting limestone does far exceed the views of the vessel video has received almost 1/3 the views in 6 days. This one is definitely an anomaly as many of my videos have not even come close to 100 views. But the cool thing is that all of the videos are steady increasing in views. So, if you like to see the way stone is worked and carved, subscribe to my channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLZ4k8l6V2l_otGckDxxQ5A and watch my videos!

Carving a Limestone Vessel by Mike McCarthy

I started carving an Indiana Limestone vessel a few months ago. However, I have been so busy with other projects that I have not been able to get back to it. The stone is a cut off from my Norton commission, "Cor Liberum". I am happy to say that the off-fall from that project has provided a steady source of stone for a while.

This piece will be similar to the piece I carved about a year ago, "Peace Lilly". I will be sanding and polishing this piece to at least 400 grit paper and then putting a sealer on it. I will also add a wax finish to the piece. It will give a rich color to the piece that is not typical of limestone. However, it is a very warm and pleasing finish for indoor pieces.

“If The Spirit Is Willing” is Installed at Josephine Sculpture Park by Mike McCarthy

 Mark Hendren loading my sculpture. 

Mark Hendren loading my sculpture. 

All things happen for a reason. Last year at the outdoor sculpture show at Hidden Hill Nursery and Sculpture Garden two of my three pieces sold. That is a great show, but I was a little disappointed because I thought the one that did not sell was the strongest piece. “If the Spirit is Willing” was the sculpture that did not sell. 

Fast forward a year. I decided to enter “If the Spirit is Willing” into a juried show at Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort, KY. There were minimum size requirements for this show so that limited the entries. However, of the 20 entries, my sculpture was one of eight selected. That is always a great feeling to get that notice that your work has been accepted.  

So on Thursday I met Karen Terhune over where my sculpture was, picked her up and brought her home  then my next door neighbor, Mark Hendren loaded it on his trailer and I drove it out to the park.

 The steel piece sitting behind my sculpture will be moved. 

The steel piece sitting behind my sculpture will be moved. 

I met the owner of the park, Melanie VanHouten at about 8:45. We set a limestone base and then the real fun began. We got to play with a big crane! I think cranes are an amazing engineering feat. The operator was incredible. He boomed over and dropped the hook right where I needed it. He lifter and set the dry fit with the smoothest touch I have seen. Lifted so I could get the safety out and reset in no time. Even though he set it so fast, nothing seemed rushed. It was great. 

So, if you are in Frankfort, KY, come out and see “If the Spirit is Willing” and the rest of the sculpture at Josephine Sculpture Park.

I Posted My 30th Video on YouTube by Mike McCarthy

For the more tech savvy folks in the cloud, posting 35 videos may seem like small potatoes, but some of you will understand that this is quite the accomplishment. It has taken several years to get to get to this mark. Although, over the last month, I have posted 21 of the 35, so I am on a roll.

I find it fascinating that some people enjoy seeing the carving process as much as I do. Now, keep in mind that when I say some people, I really mean some!! I have a grand total of 1 subscriber and the most views of one of my videos currently sits at 221 views. (I am sure a lot of them are my own views.). All that aside, I really enjoy doing them as I love seeing the progression of a sculpture. My favorite type is the time-lapse. You can really see the progression of a day of carving, something you don't really experience as you are actually carving. So, take a look at the attached video, this is number 35!

Progress on the Fountain From a Different View by Mike McCarthy

I have put together another view of the progress of my commissioned Indiana Limestone fountain. I typically do both a GoPro video as well as a time lapse video from a set point. They give two totally different experiences. In my last post, I shared a GoPro of this same project. This video is from the set camera. As you will see, the face started out with a stolen left eye and no mouth. Over the night of carving, she started to get a little definition into her eye area and started forming a mouth.

Ready to Get a Little Dizzy? Fast Motion Carving Video by Mike McCarthy

I am working on a new commission. This one is an Indiana Limestone fountain that will be a similar theme as a bench this client bought from me a few years back. This is the first fountain I have done, so it will be interesting. This video shows about 6 hours of work shortened down to a little over 4 minutes. If you get motion sickness, it might give you a bit of that. I took this with a GoPro camera on my head. I think it is pretty fun to see all of the motion!

Not Often, But Every Once in a While a Sculpture Does Not Make it. by Mike McCarthy

When I used to carve wood, if a piece was not working out, off to the burn pile it went. Now that I have moved primarily back to stone, burning my mistakes is no longer an option. In general this is a good thing. After a while of sitting there mocking me, I am able to wrangle most pieces into submission and they become a viable work. However, that is not always the case.

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Over that last few months, I have been working on a good sized sculpture that I had planned on submitting to a show at Josephine Sculpture Park. Lately, I have been working on getting my sculptures to be as thin as I can to emphasize visual lightness. I like the dichotomy of the weight of stone with that visual lightness. I was really starting to like the piece and had begun the sanding process. This is where I spend a lot of time using a sander to further thin the stone. I sent use the hammer here because I can break the stone.

All was going well until the sander got caught in a curve and skipped out. As soon as that happened, I heard the worst sound a sculptor can hear...the clink of stone breaking. This sound is a very distinct sound that gives sculptors a chill down their back. If you want it to happen, it is the coolest sound in the world. If you don't want it to happen, it is the worst sound you can hear. Needless to say, I did not want it to happen.

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As the piece that broke fell to the floor, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. The piece that broke really tied the two sides of the sculpture together. I was in panic mode and was looking around the piece to see if it could be salvaged. I grabbed the top of the sculpture to turn it and the top section cam off in my hands. I hand realized that it too had broken in the process. I was so disappointed that had it been a wood piece it would have gone into the burn pile. Since this was stone, it went into the trash!