Boulder and oak-tree and stone

A stone-tree for the group home

Today in Amersfoort, a new group home for people with a mild intellectual disability was inaugurated. I've lately been involved (pro deo) in a number of things in the new home, including the stone-tree and the boulder in the garden. Read here↑ an earlier post about the boulder.

The stone-tree was a special project for me, because it led me to undertake several things that I do not normally do. It's a long story, so let's start at the beginning!

The mad squire in 1661

boulder and oak- pulling the Amersfoort boulder, on an old print

Each Amersfoort resident knows the story of the mad squire and the Amersfoort boulder. Or, at least, he/she should know it. In short it goes like this: Squire Everard Meyster makes a walk on the Leusden moors with his study pals, and comes upon a huge boulder, sticking out of the ground. After some speculation about the origin of the boulder the squire is willing to bet that the boulder would be easy to move. He gets 400 Amersfoorters crazy enough that they willingly, and for promises of lots of beer and pretzels start to move the boulder of 7 tons and hoist it on a cart, and under loud cheering bring it into the city. A man lost his legs in the excitement, but that couldn't spoil the fun.

Then the stone was set on display at the Pig's Market. Later, the squire writes a mocking rhyme about the gullible Amersfoorters, and the boulder was buried out of shame. Only in 1903 the boulder was dug up again. Today, the boulder is still visible at the beginning of the Arnhem street. A stone's throw from the group home.

Real Amersfoort boulders

Amersfoorters have been nicknamed Boulder pullers ever since that day’ and the city is also called Boulder Town. So what was a more appropriate name for the future residents than The Boulder Club?

At one of the meetings of the Club every resident has painted their own stone. And these remained lying around in a basket somewhere in the house. A pity though, thought the central committee, and after some discussion an idea came up for a work of art, a tree with these stones as leaves. Boulder and Oak.

Whoever thought up what, I don't know anymore, but in the practical part, it ultimately came down to a collaboration between me and painter Sandra Nanning, who has made a lot of murals, and from trees as well. Sandra was going to paint a large tree in the stairwell, and I would attach the stones to stainless steel tree leaves.

Making tree leaves

I bought a sheet of stainless steel and cut out the shape of the leaves. After that, I made a hole in the middle, and a fold over its length. I tapped the leaf halves around a thick tube to get the leaf effect, and welded an long M8 nut on the rear side. Into that, I welded a threaded wire piece, with which I can fix the leaf into the wall. It is a somewhat cumbersome construction, but now every leaf has a nut into wihich I can screw a stone.

-Click on a picture for the slide show-

Each stone had to be pierced. And there were hard ones among them! Limestones I can drill without the hammer function, but a piece of granite can't be drilled with a hammer drill. It would break in half. So many of these stones I needed to patiently pierce with a diamond bit. 32 in all, so I had enough on my hands there.

A huge tree in the stairwell

boulder and oak-tree and stoneSandra then went to work on the back wall of the stairwell. She painted one big tree, from the ground floor up to the second floor continuously. It also runs out into the two side walls, so it stands with an imposing presence. At the bottom are the names of the initiators of the project, plus the architect and the owners of the property who have put so much work in.

On the first floor is a poem about a tree that was good at letting go. And on the top two floors are the stones of the residents, criss-cross all over, each on their own stainless steel tree leaf.

boulder and oak-tree and stone2

Should it be necessary, they can be screwed out again, and there are still four spots left for future residents.

The Tree in the Wood

The tree in the wood

in autumn let everything loose

He let go of it all and as he stood

he whispered softly:

'Letting go is paramount

boulder and oak, stone and tree3in life, to stand stronger and be sound ’poem on tree

 

 

 

 

Placement of the boulder with the house numbers

boulder and oak- boulder hoistedA week earlier at the same address, I installed the boulder that I recently carved the house numbers in . The boulder was put in the front yard, right next to the entrance. I had transported the nearly 500 kg heavy boulder in the back of my white little van. I could lift it out with an engine hoist I'd brought along in a trailer. After that, it was only a matter of laying planks and planting it into the garden.

boulder and oak-positioning of the boulder2

 

 

boulder and oak- boulder planted

Boulder and Oak

boulder and oak- planting the oak tree

This boulder was not the only thing that was planted; later that week a young oak tree (Quercus Robur) was also planted, in appreciation of the architect and the two developers. Because an oak can live for over 450 years here, we hope that both the group home and the oak will live a long and happy life.

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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A boulder with house numbers


House numbers in a boulder

boulder with house number- rough stone

I recently received a request if it was possible to make a boulder with house numbers. Of course I can! So I went to a garden materials center and bought a heavy boulder of about a meter wide. It could just fit in the back of my little van, because it weighs over 400 kilos. Having a collision would become a problem at that weight. Had it been any heavier, I would have transported it by truck.

I would carve the house numbers 1-3-5 in it, for a group home for young people with a minor intellectual disability. Therefore, I chose a lively font. The boulder consists of red granite, probably a kind of Multicolour Red. But a boulder is not the same quality as found in the natural stone trade. You always need to find out if there aren't any cracks deeper inside.

Polishing

boulder with house number- polished the surface of the numbers

I started polishing the place where the numbers will will come. Once I'll lower the surface of the stone surrounding them, I will end up with raised letters or numbers. If I just carve the house numbers into the stone, then they will become recessed letters/numbers.

The tricky part here is the surface of the stone. It was formed by nature, so it's irregular. If it's wet, then it will be darker and when the weather is dry lighter. That means that in wet weather the polished surface of the figures disappears against the background. In dry weather it's easily readable.

Pasting and carving

boulder with house number- paper figures pasted onto it

The group home has the house numbers 1, 3 and 5. They share one common entrance. The stone will be located at the entrance and so will have all three house numbers. Now the house numbers are still on a sheet of paper behind a window, but because the group home is situated in boulder puller's town Amersfoort, it's a much better idea represent them on a boulder.

boulder with house number- started carving the husinummers

I had printed out the figures at 21 cm tall on paper and pasted them onto the stone. Now I could carve the numbers right through the paper into the stone . After that I just had to bring the surrounding stone down until the numbers protruded almost 2 cm above it. Red granite is quite hard, but it all went pretty easily; the stone had almost no faults.

Lowering the background

Bushhammering chisel for natural stone

When all the contours were carved, the stone in between them had to be lowered still. That's easily done with a bush hammer, a kind of blocky chisel with pyramid-shaped points. This crushes the stone surface, leaving behind a rough skin.

boulder with house number- bushhammered the surface

To finish it closer to the original surface of the stone I then followed with a rotating wire brush and brushed off all sharp bits. After several years of weathering you will notice that the stone has become one a single entity, with its letters clearly contrasting. Now the bush hammered spots are still a bit lighter, but that will, over time, merge into one another seamlessly.

Gilding or not?

boulder with house number- house numbers finished

Unfortunately, it appears that in wet weather everything gets the same color. So was thinking of a solution for this. I thought of painting or gilding. Once the polished surface of the figures is gold plated, even during rain or dusk they will clearly stand out. But we are not yet certain whether that fits in with the informal nature of the group home. I will soon install the boulder and then we'll see whether one day an alteration should be made.

This was a small (pro Deo-) job in between other things. Now I've learnt something new: how to make a boulder with house numbers. It's not a sculpture and letter carving's not something I do very often, but this was certainly just fun to do. I like working in granite, it's a robust material. I'll post pictures of installing it next week.

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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Two squirrels in red sandstone

Grove kleischets in Plastiline: two squirrels

crude, small sketch in plastiline clay

A close acquaintance of mine recently died after battling for 13 th anniversary this year. One of the last things he did was secretly save money, to be able to give a small sculpture to his wife for her birthday . …Read the whole article…

Installing: A garden bench for Castle Twickel

During dead quiet weather, a very thick branch of a tree fell down.

During dead quiet weather, a very thick branch of a tree fell down.

During dead quiet weather, a very thick branch of a tree fell down.

The concrete backrest with lead relief and the seat were the most damaged parts.

← to the first post about this project

Today, it was a hot sunny day. With a little power shovel machine and lifting straps we lifted the components of the garden bench and assembled them on site. …Read the whole article…

A puzzle in sandstone

The seat of the bench is ready

The seat of the bench is ready

← to the first post about this project

The next step in the restoration of the garden bench for Twickel Castle is reached: all parts are now ready and now everything must be fitted together. On the left the new sandstone seat is ready. Now the backrest must be fitted. But before that is possible, the backrest itself must be ready. Today I picked up the lead relief. …Read the whole article…

A faun's garden bench for Twickel Castle

garden bench Twickel

The bench, before the fateful blow

← to the first post about this project

As I reported earlier I am currently restoring a garden bench for Twickel Castle with new sandstone components. First, I carved the legs, and now the other parts are being made. It's a somewhat strange bench, …Read the whole article…

Sandstone Sphinxes… or are they Satyrs?

weathered limestone garden ornaments and garlands with sphinxesA thick branch of an oak tree in a big crash wreaked havoc on a garden bench at Castle Twickel. Multiple parts of the bench were broken or damaged, and thus this monumental piece of garden furniture was in great need of a thorough restoration. …Read the whole article…

Two videos of a lingam and panipitha

The video below I got sent today, and the one above a bit earlier. On these can be seen how the lingam and panipitha I carved out of granite got a waterflow. The lingam is a symbol for Shiva, and is regarded by believers not just as an image, but as Shiva itself. During a ritual of ablutions (abhishekam) , during recitation of Vedic chants, water is poured over the lingam. …Read the whole article…

Flora in her habitat

Garden statue Flora after recovery← to the first post on this statue

Yesterday I put the zinc/lead garden statue of Flora back into the wild. At this site it comes into its own, a very classic and graceful garden statue of the goddess of spring and flowers. …Read the whole article…

Of a garden that grew

← to the first post about this project

Granite panipitha
Today I received the above picture of the panipitha via email, and was surprised how the garden around it has grown by now , since at the time of installing it was all still a mud bath and only this spring the first plants were planted. Very good manure they used, one might think. …Read the whole article…