Crockets and finials for Aachen Cathedral

Two new finials for the Aachen Cathedral in Irish bluestone

For Aachen Cathedral some pinnacles had to be replaced. The old ones were worn and had cracked because of rusting iron and because the layering of the stone was not properly applied. The deposition direction of the stone should preferably be processed horizontal, otherwise there is a risk that a long vertical slice breaks off. Here was stuck vertically happened.

The material for these pinnacles is Irish bluestone. It is virtually the same material as the more famous Belgian bluestone, but it is a bit more evenly toned (some would say more boring) and easier to work in: it is slightly less hard and there's less tool wear because it contains less silica.

Cutting work

old and new block of stone for Aachen Cathedral

old finial and new block of stone

rough block of stone for Aachen Cathedral

using the chainsaw can speed up the work

I got supplied with the old model and new blocks of Irish bluestone (kilkenny limestone). The four crockets of the finial are not connected to each other in the middle. With an angle grinder, I can not all the way down to the shaft, but with a chainsaw it's no problem. This speeds up the carving significantly! Of course, a large stonesaw machine could also fix this, but I don't own one. For firmness I could even leave part of it still attached, so that the stone wouldn't break too easily.

Shaping the forms

precutting the finial for Aachen Cathedral

precutting and carving the rough shape. With the chainsaw I can cut right up to the shaft

Finials are essentially the same as crockets. A gothic pinnacle contains from bottom to top a few rows of leaf shaped ornaments (the crockets), which are usually crowned with more intricate leaf shapes which are opposed to each other in a cross shape (the finial).

These crockets and finials of Aachen Cathedral are likely postwar copies. They were certainly not carved all that exciting at the time. I have, without deviating much, applied slightly more tension in their shape. The overall shapes of the finial are all located within the same plane. That makes it easy to quickly precut these flowers in the beginning.

crockets of irish bluestone for the Aachen Cathedral

in the background the old crockets, the new in front

The simple water leaf crockets I carved a bit deeper, and made the outlines a bit more graceful and sharper (see below). In 1993 I first learned to carve crockets and finials, and in the past 25 years I've made a lot of these, but not often in bluestone before. Because Irish bluestone or Kilkenny limestone, is, as its Dutch name denotes, a relatively hard stone, it is natural that the shapes are kept so simple. But even the simplest of water leaf crockets has its own charm, and it is essential that its shape keeps the tension and that after generations of copies to copy we're not just left with a vague sort of shape. That still makes it somewhat interesting for me to carve: the search for a beautiful shape and its tension.

It is intended to replace many more pinnacles from Aachen Cathedral in the future.

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

Pan in porphyry 2: starting with rough carving (video)

Pan in porphyry. The precutand not yet carved piece of stone It is very busy at present, and then it sometimes happens that there is a hitch. After first having a deep cut on my thumb keep me two weeks at home, I am now at home with an tennis elbow that keeps me lying low for a while. Not because of all the sculpting however, neither of those. But that gave me the opportunity to make the video below about the first caving of the sculpture of Pan in porphyry.

Pan will have to wait a little longer anyway, for a coat of arms and seven pinnacles and finials in Irish bluestone for Aachen Cathedral wil have to go first… more on that later.

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…

An interesting gable stone

A plaque in the making for the Blue Tram street in Haarlem

Last week I started on a very interesting challenge: the carving of a new gable stone relief. The project deserves some explanation, because it includes a lot more than just this one relief. …Read the whole article…

Coat of arms in stone completed

family crest stone in stone completed, coat of arms carved in Belgian bluestone, arduin, petit granit-to the first post about this project-

These past few weeks I carved a family coat of arms in stone for a customer.
It was a top quality piece of stone, as I found out soon enough: I never encountered such a rock hard piece of Belgian blue stone (arduin) in my previous works. This piece therefore more than deserved its name of ‘petit granit‘ by right then. It tested my skills to the limit, I have to say, and also my chisels; frequently the tungsten carbide chisel chipped at its cutting edge. …Read the whole article…

Flying Buttress statuettes for St. Eusebius' Church Arnhem

Restoration St. Eusebius' Church gets going again

← Read here the first post about this restoration

Good news! There is another budget for the restoration of the St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem (the Netherlands). Today a press release came out that the municipality and province have provided funding for a transitional period of a few months, and the expectation is that the rest of the restoration project will in time be provided for as well. As a result, I can now report that the next few months I will be busy carving a whole batch of new statuettes for the flying buttresses of this church. Below is an account of the first two that Stide and I made.

Flying buttress sculptures for St. Eusebius's

precutting flying buttres figurine1

the precutting of a flying buttress statuette

…Read the whole article…

Ten tips-3: Direct carving in stone

Ten tips for beginning sculptors in stone-3: Direct carving

1.← Click here for the first ten tips for beginning sculptors in stone: techniques-

2. ← Click here for the second ten tips for beginning sculptors in stone: measuring-

carving the main volumes in stone by direct carving method

startby carving the main volumes. Detailing is not important yet

Direct carving is a term for just taking up a chisel and hammer and start carving. The process is simple enough, but it has its difficulties as well, because direct carving also means trying to find your way through the stone. …Read the whole article…

Ten tips-2: from design to stone

Ten tips for beginning sculptors-2: from design to stone

← Click here for the first ten tips for beginning sculptors in stone-

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stone statue in the making and model. Click image for link to the first article on this sculpture

Readers of my blog may know it already: I have a thorough dislike of measuring. By measuring I mean taking a distance with a ruler or a tape measure, then remember that and reproduce it on the block of stone. …Read the whole article…