Up in the mountains of Carrara, while the marble was still at the quarry, Michelangelo would have cut his original block down to size. This was needed to reduce weight and transportation cost. Today, this is less important, and the extra stone that will be feathered away can be used for smaller carvings.
In my last post I probed my block looking for flaws that could prove disastrous if ignored. Now that I have settled on a safe layout for my Pieta, I can continue to cut the extra stone away. Ideally, this will conserve large pieces for later… no sense reducing half the original weight into chips and chunks of expensive gravel.
So once again I follow the same procedure… Saw, Hammer & Feather along my demarcation lines.
My Goal is to bring the outer boundaries of the stone down within 2 inches of the final statue. This will give me a little wiggle room to adjust the Pieta one way or another if I run into a hidden flaw or if a nose or finger falls off.
The two inches will also act as a buffer between the hammer, and final carved area. As I mentioned previously, marble is easily bruised, so while I’m using the heavier tools, I want to ensure there is lots of room between the blade and the polish.
With the marble block cut down to size, and extra pieces set aside for future statues, I am left with a manageable stone that will fit my Pieta perfectly.