Lady with two doves
As you can read in the most recent posts on this blog, these past few weeks I've been busy carving corbels for the Eusebius Tower. This tower of the Eusebius Church in Arnhem has been covered in scaffolds for several years already, to grote delen van Ettringer tuff from its outside walls with the more weather resistant Weiberner tuf. All of the sculptural parts are being replaced with Muschelkalk, a coarse German limestone with lots of pores. Because of its coarseness this type of stone matches well with the rough character of the original tuff, but it is however much more resistant to weathering. Over the years the soft brown parts will wash out, but the white parts will become ever lighter, and the inclusion of some dirt from the air will cause the sculpture stand out more clearly over time.
Two levels with architectural sculpture
There are large and small corbels on two levels of the tower: on scaffolding layer 20 (on a 45 meters height) and on scaffolding layer 10 (on a 23 meters height). At this latter level there are also many stone masks with grotesque heads . These masks have meanwhile already been copied by my colleague Stide. We both are now busy working on 10 South and 10 North, and the next one of those was this lady with two doves.
As you can see in the picture of the blocks above, the stone is delivered to me after it has already been worked on. The stonemasons have already carved the profiles, and the part that will sit inside the wall is roughened up, so that the mortar will properly adhere to it. A mere slick surface will not offer enough grip for the mortar to adhere onto. On the lower part of the corbel, another round profile can be seen. Strictly speaking, this would be stone masonry, but this time it was left to me. After I've carved that neatly to size, I can start carving the actual sculpture. Usually I start with a template profile of the head and trace that onto the stone. From there I can start measuring the remaining parts of the head and carve those into the new stone.
I usually measure a lot of this with compasses, but with blocks like these, the place of the main components can be found faster and easier with a transparent film. Parts such as the doves and the hands almost entirely fall within one convex surface. On this transparent film I can quickly trace the outlines with a marker pen and then transfer this back to the stone. To see how this works in practice, it is best to read the following blog post about this: ten tips 2: from design to stone.