Finials for St. Eusebius's Church


We're currently carving parts of pinnacles by the cartload. They are all destined for St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem (the Netherlands). Below are some pictures of work I've made this far. In the picture above you can see a number of blocks ready for transport: successively, an old tuffstone block, a block of red sandstone from my hand, one by Stide and one by Jelle, and finally one by Jelle in Massangis-limestone. It's ornamental work for two complete big finials, and many individual parts for some other pinnacles.

Ornaments

old pinnacle of tuff stone fromSt. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem

the old pinnacle of tuffstone

Actually we don't carve all of the stonemasonry parts ourselves. That was done by the stonemasons from Slotboom Stonemasons in Winterswijk, the Netherlands. We only do the ornamental parts. Many of the old ornaments have crumbled and were carved a bit shallow and plump at the time. A great opportunity to make something nice out of it again. I also found a couple of weird forms of crockets (Gothic leaf motifs) on a number of blocks. Since this work was to be inserted into existing work as a repair, I just copied this strange design as it was, so that it does not contrast later on with the other elements of that pinnacle.

Colourful ensemble

The two finials that are to be replaced completely are composed of five different types of stone: white Massangis-limestone, brown Udelfanger sandstone, Red Eifel Sandstone, red Bentheimer sandstone and yellow-brown Weiberner tuff stone. This was similarly used in the 1920s in a previous restoration and for their durablity also used for these pinnacles. It will provide a vivid image of contrasting stone types.

Massangis

This is the first time I'm working in Massangis limestone. It's quite a tricky stone: for a limestone, its quite touch and rather difficult to keep the edges crisp. In the restoration of the Utrecht Dom Tower we will probably be going to carve a lot of ornaments in Massangis, so it looks like we're already practicing for that!

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

old finial block tufa

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Two stolen facade reliefs: a head and a spoonbill

My comeback on this blog!

I've recently had many different projects in progress and have just not gotten round to post any messages about them on this blog. But, fortunately we still have the pictures, as the businessman said when he saw his million dollar yacht sinking. This project has been an interesting challenge in between all the ornamental work. The job on hand was about two facade reliefs of a spoonbill and buddha head from Haarlem.

The original stone ornaments came from the façade of the Lutheran Orphan's and Old Men's Home, which was built in 1906. After the demolition of this home, the stones were reused in the garden wall of the Vitae Vesper Elderly Nursing Home that in 2015 was demolished again itself. An apartment building was constructed on this site and the reliefs remained behind, discarded and orphaned. The Lutheran Church Council wanted to provide these ornaments a final resting place in their garden wall between Frans Loenenhofje and the Lutheran Church in Haarlem.

A stolen spoonbill, pelican and buddha head

-click on the photo for the article-

The seven facade reliefs were removed from the original garden wall and kept separate. But three of those reliefs, of a pelican, a spoonbill and a Buddha head, were stolen from the construction site. Fortunately, the pelican was found again three days later. Apparently there is a market for stolen ornaments.

Stylized

The carvings are quite stylized and I thought for a minute that they were made in the Art Deco-style. But Art Deco only started from the 1920s, so although around 1906 there was already a stylization going on, it was not yet Art Deco.

The emphasis must have been on their decorative function, because I can't imagine what relation a heron and a Buddha head should have to a Lutheran orphanage. Or an Old Men's Home, for that matter. As the article mentions they were carved around 1905 by sculptor Tjipke Visser from Bergen, North-Holland. He made seven of those, a Buddha head, a head of a native American woman, two feline heads, an ibex, and a pelican and spoonbill. The spoonbill and the pelican are placed on opposite sides of an existing memorial in the garden wall of the Lutheran Church. The other reliefs got a place further down the wall.

We currently have a lot of work in progress at the same time. I just couldn't get it all finished on time alone, so I was glad Jelle took on the carving of the head while I was busy making a blue statue from sodalite in the meantime. Some time later I had time to tackle the carving of the spoonbill. We both followed the same procedure, so my approach below was the same for Jelle's sandstone head. I had ordered two blocks of Bentheimer sandstone to the right size, so we could get started right away.

Modeling and copying

Two new reliefs ready on the pallet

I had thought about carving this spoonbill straight out of the block, but that is not the best way to address it if the customer wants an exact copy. I had received a lot of pictures of the old reliefs via email, along with a number of measurements that were carried out on the counterparts that were preserved. This proved essential in the reconstruction: from these measurements and the pictures I was able to model a similar looking spoonbill in clay. Fortunately, there were pictures from three sides, from when the bird was still in its last garden wall. Once the clay model was to my satisfaction, I could start carving a copy in stone. Small details like feathers in the wings I had left out for the time being.

I traced the contours of the spoonbill onto a piece of cardboard, so I could transfer them onto the stone. After I'd carved away the stone outside the contours, I could transcribe the other sizes quite simply with a compass. In such a case, I usually put the two pieces tightly together. That way, I can transfer most of the width measurements one by one, without adjusting my compass. I've once made a video and a blog post about that. Once most measurements were in place and the rough shapes were carved, only the finish carving of the spoonbill needed to be done. The method of working from a clay model first is called the Indirect Carving Method. Read more about this method in this blog post↑.

Slideshow

-Click on a picture for the enlarged view-

The facade reliefs can be seen in the garden of the Lutheran Church, Witte Herenstraat 22 in Haarlem.

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

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Video: a coat of arms with deep relief

Finally, the video of the family crest with deep relief that I carved last winter into sandstone is now online.

Find it below! Read about this project here: A sandstone coat of arms with deep relief.

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

A sandstone coat of arms with deep relief

sandstone coat of arms by sculptor Koen van Velzen

Stone crest

A Bentheimer sandstone coat of arms. Dimensions of the relief 40 x 50 x 18 cms, of which the relief part is carved 10 cms deep. Clearly can be seen that this stone is a natural product, as evidenced by the light brown traces of an iron deposit. This does otherwise not harm the preservation of the stone. This coats of arms relief stone is placed on the inside of a solid garden wall with cappings. …Read the whole article…

Video of a coat-of-arms in sandstone


Of the coat-of-arms I recently carved in sandstone, I also took a number of video recordings. Read here↑ more about this project, and below a few links to a number of previous coats of arms: …Read the whole article…

War memorial Appelweg: Before and after

Memorial Appelweg old: The old situation: covered with a brick layer with glass shards

The old situation: covered with a brick layer with glass shards

Today I was in Amersfoort again, near the Appelweg. I took advantage of that opportunity to take a few pictures of the new capping stones on the war memorial that Gerard and I had refurbished recently. …Read the whole article…

Refurbishing a war memorial

Recently I, along with assistant Gerard van Esveld, added some sandstone cappings to a brick wall in Amersfoort.

These videos were made by Rob Lampe, who creates local reports for Amersfoort Gezien. He lives in the Westerstraat in Amersfoort, where in the year 1945 a bad policeman was shot by the resistance. In retaliation ten prisoners from camp Amersfoort were executed on the Appelweg just around the corner by the Germans. The wall where that took place was decorated as a monument very soon after the war was over, made possible by a gift from the doctor who lived there. The bullet holes are still visible. …Read the whole article…

Three sandstone lions for three herrings

sculptor Leo sandstone Deventer The Three Herrings

new sandstone lion

sandstone lion copy

side view

Head lion sandstone Deventer old and new

two small relief stones with lion's head, old and new

Lions Deventer old-new

The left hand lion will be put back, the right hand one is a reconstructed copy, carved in mirror image. On the shield the house sign is depicted


For a property in Deventer I was asked to carve a set of lions in Bentheimer sandstone. …Read the whole article…

Two putti restored

← to the first post about these putti

broken putto

The two eighteenth-century sandstone putti that I recently started to restore are finished. It's become a kind of harvest scene: …Read the whole article…

Two broken putti and a fallen Artemis

two broken putti and the ankles of Artemis

the two broken putti and the ankles of Artemis

Last month I was offered an interesting challenge: two eighteenth-century putti made of Bentheimer sandstone and terracotta sculpture of Artemis. All three were seriously damaged and to me fell the task to restore them in all their splendour. …Read the whole article…