Introduction: How to Carve an Egyptian Stone Statue
An Egyptian statue carved from Ice Alabaster stone.
Project time: approx. 50 hours (un-sanded)
Step 1: The Tools and the Stone
First, size up your stone. Then, plan the layout of your carving. The drawing shows how I wanted mine to look. Next, the tools.
Tools for carving by hand, I use these items:
1. Face mask 2. Small hammer 3. a leather glove 4. Small piece of Alabaster Stone (Ice Alabaster in picture) 5. Needle pick 6. Coarse and fine rasps & files (small to medium in size) 7. Mini watch screwdrivers (used as chisels) 7. clay carving tools for detail since Alabaster is a soft stone.
Think safety first. Remember shop class? Use that knowledge here and protect yourself from dust, scrapes, and hazards.
Step 2: The Beginning
There are various ways to start carving a statue. Use a combination of filing and chipping-away with your mini needle and hammer. Take care not to strike so hard as to crack the stone. Use your drawn outline as a guide for where not to carve yet. Keep chucking and chiseling away on both sides of the rock until you've reached a defined bulk shape for your statue. See the images for examples of what this looks like.
Step 3: The Bulk Shape
Use your artist's eye, and mold the stone to your desire. See the Figure's shape in the stone, then reveal it slowly, ever so carefully, by removing and shaving away pieces of the rock. Gentle strokes keeps the stone from breaking. Keep filing and chiseling the bulk shape on all sides until a rough figure begins to emerge.
I used a combination of clay carving tools, stone carving angled files, mini flathead screwdrivers & a jeweler's hammer to complete all steps of this carving. (For the sake of organization, all images and steps hereafter are arranged by section carved.)
Step 4: Work the Torso
Continue to bulk out the shape of the overall figure: the head, shoulders, back, feet, knees, hands, ankh, and face. If your hands get tired take a break. I like to go outside and look at the sun shine when I break.
See images for examples of what this looks like.
Step 5: Step Back. Take a Look.
These are examples of what the overall carving should look like before continuing on with the face.
Step 6: The Face.
See the face in the stone with your artist's eye. Start the face by carving out the shape of the head starting with jaw bone and chin. Then, plan where the eyes are going to be placed (start with the eye sockets), make your mark there. Afterwards, plan the nose in relation to the eye sockets and the jaw bone. Next, bulk out the left and right ears on the top of the head. For this step, I scored in the facial features as 2D marks (like on paper), then, by removing layer upon layer of stone, revealed the facial features in 3D via a relief reduction carving technique.
*Please see all images for examples of what this looks like.
If you have any questions this far in the intractable, please comment them below. I'll try to get back to you asap.
Step 7: Working on the Legs and Feet.
After carving the head and torso, and blocking out the hands and ankh, start working on the legs, knees, and feet. Use the same reduction/relief carving technique as before to reveal the lower half of the statue.
*See all images.
Step 8: Last Stage of the Un-sanded Statute
At this stage in the process, knowingly leaving it un-sanded, I felt like the carving was complete. I carve by hand with files and mini screwdrivers. I'm not a big fan of sanding my carvings to a glossy machine like finish. It's totally a clash of style. I like the raw natural look. However, if You would like to, after this point, continue on with the sanding to a glossy machine-like finish- feel free to do so.
Using various grit sand paper, starting with the coarsest sand paper- sand the statue. Working from there, grit by grit, until the finest grit is reached: sand all sides of the statue until desired look is reached. Buff the statue, then apply stone oil.
Step 9: The FUN-ctional Statue
I gave myself a 5hr/day for 10 days deadline to complete this statue (because I had to get ready for Burning Man 2014). I left it un-sanded according to my own desires. I knew I was going to take this statue on a road with me to the deserts of Nevada, for this statue represents a Roamer of the Deserts and the Keeper of the Light.
Fun comes with and sometime after Hard Work :)
Pictures taken at Black Rock City, NV
Step 10: One Last Stop Before Home.
On my way back to New Mexico from Burning Man 2014, I stopped by to show my respect for the Goddess.
Photos taken at the Temple of Goddess Spirituality~Dedicated to Sekhmet near Indian Springs, NV
Below is a short video of this experience.