Direct carving is very different from additive methods and "plastic" carving. In additive methods, for example clay modeling and direct plaster, an armature or core is created and the medium is built-up around the armature. It is also fairly easy to change or "correct" clay and then re-build. In "plastic" carving a maquette or model is made using additive methods, frequently in clay, and then copied into the stone [not necessarily by the artist].
Direct Carving, on the other hand, is a very intimate experience in which the artist liberates the forms inherent in a particular piece of stone [or wood].
By working with the properties of that stone including the grain, crystal structure, texture, hardness, fault lines, shape, etc., a unique artwork is created. Working within the specific limits of each piece of stone my goal is to create a sculpture that moves outside its own boundaries. Stone for all its hardness and strength is very fragile and can be easily bruised and broken. It can also be incredibly recalcitrant and "bite back" forcing a collaboration between the stone and artist in which, it some times seems the stone has the upper hand. The act of direct carving becomes a physical form of meditation in which mind, body and matter work in concert creating dance that moves beyond limitations.
The hand tools I use -- hammer and chisel have not changed very much from the beginnings of human time. The act of carving and having a relationship with stone is deeply rooted in our collective past. People have always had special connections with stones as shown by Stone Henge, Cycladic Figures, the Venus of Walendorf, etc. Stone is in many ways the building blocks of our cultural history. Sometimes, as simply a construction material, and other times as a vehicle for our aesthetic, religious, and intellectual symbols and ideas.
In this age of industrialization and virtual-almost-everything, when most people do not understand the everyday tools they use, and with our current emphasis on computers - the act of creating stone sculpture is in fact, revolutionary. Physical, intimate, meditative, with a tangible result it is an extraordinary experience.
Member of Urban Stone Tribe