|Project by JimArnoldChess||posted 10-12-2016 01:57 PM||1335 views||0 times favorited||10 comments|
I carve lots and lots of different things…not just chess sets. The chess sets pay the bills, but once in a while I get to have some fun with the art form. This is a statue of Saint Stephen, the patron saint of a church here in Elkin, NC. The church had been around for over 60 years and they actually have an alcove in the steeple for a statue, but they never got one because the cost was prohibitive. Then one day this woodcarver comes along and tells his friend, a Sister of Saint Joseph nun who runs all the programs at this church, he would do it.
At the time, the church was cutting down some old and dead oak trees, that were planted at the same time the church was built. The wood was VERY green, and you guys know that working with green wood can have lots of drawbacks, but I threw caution to the wind and had the tree guys cut out a 7’ long, 24” diameter hunk for me. I wrapped it up tight in a tarp and left it alone for a couple months. On Easter Sunday I asked the priest to bless it for me, which he did, and then I built some saw horses and started carving on him right in front of the church doors you see in a couple of the pics. I first ‘roughed’ him out with a chainsaw. Then used my regular chisels with my 28 oz. estwing (I quickly switched to a 20 oz. fiberglass hammer, lol) to bang out the details. I have to admit I ‘milked’ this job for many weeks as lots and lots of people would stop and come and talk, or honk their car horns as they drove past, but I think the work took about 80 hours (the second will take half as much time).
The Saint is Saint Stephen, one of the first martyrs. I learned that by looking at a picture of a saint you can tell many things and you can tell Stephen is a martyr because he’s holding a palm frond. His shoulder robe indicates he was a teacher, the diagonal robe underneath means he was a teacher of religion, his eyes looking towards the heaven indicate part of how he died (I wanted to make him looking straight down at all the sinners passing through the doors below the alcove, but I was out-voted, lol). The rocks on the religious book indicate that he was ‘stoned’ to death.
He stands about 4’ or so tall and weighs about 185 pounds. In about 2 months, I’ll give him a bath in teak oil, and about 6 months after that he will take his place about 30’ off the ground in the alcove he was always supposed to stand in. I’m putting 4 s/s bolts in the base to lift him an inch or two off the ground to help with the maintenance that will be required.
It was the most fun project I have ever been involved in. I have another church project nearing completion for a different church…that one not so much fun, but both these projects will be around long after I’m gone, ha! Hoping to shift to more of this religious carving work as I retire from the chess crap in a few months (I hope). Thanks for taking a peek!