Steiger Visit Eusebiuskerk: Collar and Stones 14 flying buttress statuettes.

Steiger Visit Eusebiuskerk

scaffolding visit Eusebius Church with flying buttress images

flying buttress 6

Last Thursday I visited the Eusebius Church in Arnhem. I had heard that were installed two of the four flying buttresses. At the church I had new limestone 31 copies cut the old air arch frames and my colleague Stide also four. Stide has also replaced many corbels and collar rhinestones and is currently mainly engaged in stone masks.

scaffolding visit Eusebius flying buttresses

flying buttress 7

Corbels on the tower

So Thursday I came for the first time in a long time to size up the statues and even take a picture. I also went further along scaffolding battle 20 Tower, where in such 45 meters all big and small corbels to sit. These are just put in the picture.

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Read here all reports of flying buttress statuettes for Eusebiuskerk

Links to all the individual frames:

Flying buttress 7: Lion, dog, Naked Woman with Bird, Noah, Ark with pigeon (Das and Cat with fish carved by Stide)

Flying buttress 6: Lady with pestle and mortar, Fat man with jug, Capercaillie, Kangaroo, Uil, Poem, Noah praying in the ark.

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

Steiger Visit Eusebiuskerk

Pan in Red Porphyry (1) (video)

block of porphyry for plaster image of Panwooden frame for plaster model. for Pan sculpture in porphyry

Resumed

I finally continued with my plaster statue of Pan (read here more about it). After much doubt about a beautiful red block of granite it ultimately became a piece of Chinese Porphyry. It is not too expensive, it's easier to carve and looks stunning.

I thought I could take this opportunity to explain my approach to carving such a figurine. But on the first day I'd unfortunately forgotten the camera, so the video below regrettably doesn't show how I put the machine ready for use, hoisted the block up on it and made a wooden frame for the model.

Pedestal

I have actually ordered a way too large block! The idea was that I would attach the plinth to the sculpture in one piece, or rather let it still be attached. Sculpture and pedestal from a single block. But for that I'll need to carve the statue as high up as possible inside the block , and everything below that will be the base.

A while ago I welded some stainless steel nuts onto the turntables, in order to secure the flying buttress figurines properly. That came in handy this time; because I could now fix a pair of twobys on the turntable, and from there I further built the woodwork up. It had to be quite firm because it absolutely shouldn't deform under pressure: otherwise the copy would not be cut accurately.

Alignment

The first job is to accurately align the sculpture. It should fit within the block on all sides. For that reason I had already ordered the block a little bit bigger, otherwise it would become very difficult. If I would not put it exactly right, it would cut away too much on one side and on the other side there would not be enough material left.

Block and model are also secured below and above by two center points, so that nothing can shift during the process.

With a blunt saw

copy-sawing the plaster statue of Pan in porphyry

I cheerfully started sawing, but it was not quite that easy! I had been warned beforehand: on porphyry a blade will quickly get dull and then it's all not so smooth sailing anymore. Well it was not as bad as I expected. My granite blade initially cut very well, except when I had to cut quite deeply. Only later it didn't do so well anymore. It started to pinch, jam, and start to follow a previous cut and everything took an excruciatingly long time. I ultimately dulled four different blades on this one piece! All in all, it took three times as long as with for example the limestone flying buttress figurines , and it didn't look as good either.

I usually cut a sculpture in three rounds: in the first pass I cut layers of about five centimeters thick, at a few centimeters away from the final surface. The second round I cut layers of one and a half centimeter, to one and a half centimeter distance, and in the final round I preferably cut each line just below the last one, on 3 mm from final surface. Only the latter did not work so beautifully in this material as in for example the Monkey↑.

Tapping away

Between each course I strike the porphyry off with a hammer. With a claw hammer in this case: I find I can strike faster than with a bulky hammer. This cutting process takes away a lot of material, but more importantly: it takes away a lot of the measuring work. And as you may know I have a thorough dislike of measuring.

Bad Luck

After the sawing, during which, because of the cold and wet, I had to change clothes several times, I cleaned everything and I wanted to continue right away with the carving. But then a hitch came: during a small job in between I cut my hand very deep. The sculpture is now at a standstill, and so am I: I'm sitting at home with three stitches. Again.

Apparently I needed a few weeks vacation. I hope to soon make a part two on the carving of this sculpture.

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

The whole zoo in his boat (flying buttress figurine)

Coarse-grained zoo

A whole zoo in a boat. The old tuffstone flying buttress figurine

This week I had an Ark on my hands again. This is the last flying buttress figurine that was designed by Theo van Reijn and probably carved by Eduard van Kuilenburg, in 1953 or ’54. But it's weathered down very much. When it was in my yard, I had to take a good look. I knew it was supposed to be an ark, but I couldn't determine which animals were in it. I thought I saw a donkey, a camel, an elephant, a snake and a crocodile. And Noah of course. I turned out to be off by a mile or so!

 

Of a camel that turned out to be a stork

ark with a zoo, Presawn in new Muschelkalk limestone

Only when I was about to presaw this sculpture, I took the time to take a closer look. It soon became clear that I was wrong on almost all counts. I had to fix some things, but the donkey turned out to be a giraffe, the camel was actually a Shoebill stork, and the fat crocodile turned into a hippopotamus! That shows how vague everything had become, when even a sculptor standing right over it can't recognize them. In daylight, that is. In the evening, in artificial light coming only from above, the shapes are much clearer.

All aboard!

A whole zoo in a boat. Copying. New and old flying buttress figurine of limestone and tuff

A piece of the beak of the stork was lying loose on the sculpture and had to be glued back on. the rest of the muzzles had to be repaired before I could copy it. The story that's told in this flying buttress sculpture is the moment when the boat was ready and all the animals were about to board. 'Of all the pure animals seven pairs, of the other animals two pairs'. In this sculpture Noah is comforting the elephant and the snake wants to go off on his own again.

Unfinished?

a zoo in a boat-copy of the arkInterestingly, the old Ark was left quite rough at the bottom. It may have been the intention of the sculptor, but I think this was one of the first pieces on top of the flying buttress. Perhaps at that time it was still a little bit unclear how the profile would run which the stonemason would add later. Next, the stonemason made the profile to fit on site, and there has never been anyone afterwards who adapted the lower part of the sculpture.

a zoo in a boat-copy of the ark

Adjustments

This time, I decided to make an adjustment: like with the previous ark I put the ship on struts. Normally you would only put the whole zoo inside the ship once it is in port, but Noah had a unique situation: he built the ship on dry land, then it started to rain and the water came to the ship instead of vice versa. To make it clear that the ark, with the whole zoo already in it, is still on the land, I placed the ark on struts again.

The hippo, which I first thought was a big fat crocodile, was carved much clearer and for good measure I put a Big Smile on its snout. After all, he is allowed to ride on the boat!

a zoo in a boat-copy of the ark

Update 16 February 2018

Below are a few photos from my visit to the Eusebius Church 15 February.

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

A faun with loss of face, for a castle

Loss of face

repairs on a fractured sandstone faun

The broken pieces are glued back together and the first mortar is applied

(Bicentenary post on this blog!)

From the garden of Singraven Estate in Denekamp, the Netherlands I received a faun in my studio this week. It was a cheerful fellow with a flute on his belly. Only he had lost the face; apparently something had fallen on top of it, for the whole right side of his face was missing. What was left of it was lying beside him on the pallet, neatly packed in a container.

What to do? I was asked that he should be restored to its original state as much as possible. I had been given a new block of sandstone.

Weather-beaten

But actually this stone is just at the end of its lifetime. It would be best if a copy were made in new stone, and that the old one would be put somewhere indoors where it can survive for centuries. For as a result of how it's presently situated, it's strongly in decline now. The Faun had a deep fissure along the layers of the stone (the deposition direction of the stone) on the backside of his head, and other cracks are beginning to form, and the surface of the stone loses its sharpness and becomes more granular. As always it is a matter of balance between cost, value, historical considerations and emotional value.

Restored Faun

Sandstone Faun with restored face

The same Faun after repairs

In this case I was asked to repair the faun. I glued the pieces back again and remodeled the face with restoration mortar. To imitate the skin of the rest of the stone, I didn't make the features and surface of the repairs too sharp, so that it blends seamlessly into the rest. The tear in the back of his head was carefully opened and filled with a thin liquid mortar for natural stone. After that, the surface of this tear was also remodeled with restoration mortar. Finally the sculpture was cleaned and the repairs were colour-matched.

This was not my first faun for a castle; earlier I restored a complete garden bench with dancing fauns for castle Twickel.

Garden bench with fauns or satyrs as theme, with lead relief and new sandstone elements

a restored garden bench with faun- or satyr theme for Castle Twickel

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

A monkey in a wig (flying buttress figurine)

flying buttress figurine Monkey, Copying from tuffstone into Muschelkalk

copying the Monkey

The old Monkey from tuffstone

One of the nicest flying buttress figurines from the series 'Noah's Ark’ by Theo van Reijn was now ready to be copied: a Monkey. The creature has an endearing belly, skinny legs and a Big Smile on its snout. And a wig.

That my sawing machine after all of the welding- and tinkering can now cut so accurately is also clearly visible in the pre-cut block. It saves quite a bit of work.

Thrift shop

In the pre-cut block of stone, the shapes of the Monkey are already easily identified

The old figurines from St. Eusebius's Church are all sold for charity, by which at least a portion of the cost will be covered. Such a restoration does of course not come cheap, and this time 96 flying buttress figurines alone will have to be made. Not to mention the hundreds of other new parts for the tower and the church.

This Monkey was immediately already tremendously popular at the auction, and I think his roguish smile is to blame for that.

Unfortunately, the pictures in this article are not so clear, because it was bad weather with very flat light when I finished the figurine.

But perhaps it is not a cheerful smile at all, but rather a wan face from abdominal pain!

The Monkey Blues?

The original statue was made around the years 1953. In those days, there were many deer parks and zoos with a monkey cage, where you could feed the monkeys yourself. Especially on Sundays whole families of people would buy a bag of peanuts, to throw the 'monkey nuts’ towards the primates, sitting a bit glum behind wire mesh on a bare rock. It may be clear that the monkeys did not always get a balanced diet, and would have had to make do with the peanuts that sometimes were thrown with paper bag and all. On other days they would no doubt have gotten better food. I myself have, though that was 15 years later, vivid memories of the deer park, with ominous signs saying that plastic bags were not good for the deer. "If you give the animals plastic, it's certain that soon none of them will survive.’ Perhaps that's how our monkey got his bulging edema belly?

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

A Bear with a honeypot (flying buttress figurine)

The bear that didn't look like a bear

flying buttress statuette of bear with honeypot - old original tuff

flying buttress statuette bear with honey -new copy in muschelkalk limestone

And then the bear came with its long snout and blew out… no, he ate all the honey. This 'bear’ was the next flying buttress figurine for St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem which was to be copied into new stone. Only you have to look very good …Read the whole article…

The Man calling Noah (flying buttress figurine)

copying flying buttress figurine The Noachroeper/ Man calling Noah from St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem

Copying The Noachroeper/Man Calling Noah

Noah-caller

old tuff flying buttress statuette of Man calling Noah from St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem.

The tuffstone original of the Man Calling Noah

The next flying buttress figurine for St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem is one of the more famous ones: The Man calling Noah. It's a bald little guy bending over in a highly flexible position and shouting to someone down below. Maybe he shouts that Noah should get along with his boat because the waters are rising? In any case, the sculpture was made with a lot of humor and it is immediately clear what this guy is doing. He has long pants without belt, and is bare-chested. …Read the whole article…

A Desperate Monk, Reading (flying buttress figurine)

A Desperate Monk, Reading, Copying the statues

copying the Monk

Weather-beaten

The next flying buttress statue in the series for St. Eusebius's Church was a man in a monk's habit, reading a book and desperately grasping his forehead. The old tuffstone sculpture was pretty heavily weathered at the surface, but the stone underneath was still fairly sound. However, no warranty can be given that …Read the whole article…

A Long-legged Squirrel (flying buttress figurine)

beeldhouwerij van Velzen around Christmas 2017

My sculptor's workshop around Christmas

The first thing I often take on in these figurines is the profiled stonemasonry parts at the bottom

old tuff flying buttress figurine of a Squirrel

old Squirrel, tuff stone

The last flying buttress figurine from flying buttress no. 5 of St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem was this Squirrel. In these past few weeks I have presawn all the remaining blocks of stone for flying buttresses nos. 5 and 4 on my machine, so now I can start carving all the remaining figurines. …Read the whole article…

A Razorbill without a head (flying buttress figurine)

Presawing in the snow

Van Velzen sculptor overlooks snowy fields this winterThe next flying buttress figurine for St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem is ready. I've been busy presawing all the blocks that I had lying around for flying buttress 4 and 5 (read here more), before maybe a real frost period got in the way. Because my saw sits outside, I cannot use it during frost, because then …Read the whole article…