On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Our artist being featured today is neabinorb! Let’s give him a warm welcome.
(As always, we are using the On the Road form for convenience, but this has nothing to do with On the Road.)
If you would like your talent featured in the Artists in Our Midst series – or your work as an author featured in our Authors in Our Midst series – please send me an email message.
Carving Stone! by neabinorb
I don’t know that I’m an artist. I’m a retired librarian with no formal art education with only very limited participation in the art business (I exhibited prints of digital art some years ago at the regional pride center and even sold a couple). But I’ve drawn and painted and doodled forever. I’ve been carving limestone for about nine years, starting with borrowed tools. I always say that the tools taught me how to carve – use them the right way and they work, use them the wrong way and they don’t. I now have my own tools. I use hand tools – chisels, points and rasps, etc – and have a Dremel with engraving tools for finer details.
Carving is dirty work, so I carve outside. This means I can only carve in warm months. Here in Indiana that’s April through October. In the winter I practice painting, but it’s only practice; I’m not a painter – yet. My carving studio is a canvas tarp spread in an area of my front porch which used to be a carport. I have a section of tree trunk for a pedestal, stacked with sandbags to cushion the blows.
I make silhouette carvings inspired by the American Arts and Crafts movement and 3-dimensional pieces inspired my own feeble genius. I work in a small scale – I don’t work on stones that are too heavy for me to lift and carry – so most of my work is table or shelf size sculpture. The stone comes from quarries in southern Indiana.
To the extent that I’m able I work out designs on paper before I begin carving. But as often as not, it’s a process of discovery. Certain stones will suggest the image that they conceal, and sometimes it really feels like I’m just removing the excess stone to reveal the design hidden within.
I’ve given pieces away to family and friends but have never exhibited or sold any (this makes Balloon Juice my big coming out!). Before the pandemic I was planning to begin approaching regional galleries, but now I’m waiting for a better time – when people can safely go out to see art. Meanwhile, I’m really glad to share this with all of you.
I should add – carving is easy, photography is hard! I do the best I can with that.
A small altar. Eleven inches at its widest point, six inches tall.
Three crows. On a block seven inches tall and about two inches deep.
Two crows. Approximately same dimensions as Three crows.
Two views of a Column with trees. The column is eighteen inches tall. The trees go all around.
A maze and a piece entitled Emblem. Mazes were among my earliest projects. The parallel grooves are on three sides. The back is rough stone, and the emblem is idiosyncratic.
Four very small altars – for your smallest sacrifices. The tallest is about three inches. Average size cherry tomato for scale.
‘My little pony’ is about three inches tall. The other pieces seen here are part of a sculptural group entitled Field, consisting of over 50 unique pieces created during the 2020 pandemic summer when I attempted to carve every scrap of stone I had. They were conceived as game pieces for a nonexistent game.
My esteemed tools! Not shown – the Dremel, various picks, files and brushes, and an assortment of sandpapers.