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 ~ Alabaster ~

Alabaster is a soft stone that has been used for thousands of years for carving and shaping into artistic and utilitarian objects. It is also known as gypsum or hydrated calcium sulfate that formed with heat and pressure from the deposits of calcium rich shells and skeletons of sea creatures over millions of years. The stone has a translucency that augments the variety of colors and patterns that include white, pink, green, red and black colors that result from other mineral impurities. The appearance is enhanced by the naturally occurring cracks and fractures that occur in the stone. The majority of the alabaster used in my creations comes from Colorado. Each project starts from a block weighing up to several hundred pounds. It is initially cut and shaped into a rough cylindrical form using a combination of hand tools and electrical saws and grinders. The piece is then mounted on a lathe using a pin chuck and a variety
of scrapers are used to rough turn the outside shape. The stone is then stabilized by a process of using a vacuum system to pull a
dilute solution of polyvinylacetate glue into cracks and fissures.
The subsequent hollowing process on the lathe determines the thickness of the walls and the amount of translucency that the finished piece will have and establishes surfaces for final carving, texturing or the addition of wood rims. Extensive sanding with
grits down to 2000 results in a highly polished surface that is
then cleaned with mineral spirits and a oil or varnish finish is applied, followed by a buffed wax finish.

The cutting and turning processes are very dusty and require good safety equipment including eye, ear and lung protection.

I have been interested in three dimensional art as long as I can remember and developed an eye for spatial relationships many years ago. My earliest work was done in wood, producing various styles of carvings. Wood remains one of my favorite media to work with due to its huge variety of colors, textures and ease of working.
I have been working with alabaster over the last several years and love the feel and look of the finished product. The colors and translucency of alabaster makes it a wonderful media for turning a range of vessels that can be further carved, shaped and textured to result in one-of-a-kind creations. The combination of alabaster with wood leaves unlimited opportunity to explore.

                   

 

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