The Twist

  • The twist was my first work with granite.  As you may already know this stone is really hard, and its dust can cause silicosis.  That all means you need special tools, typically diamond coated, to work on it.  It also means you must not breathe the dust or spread it outside the work area but must contain it so it can be frequently cleaned up and disposed of carefully.  Spraying water on the material keeps dust from forming whenever you are disturbing the surface with tools such as grinders or pneumatic hammers or when sanding and polishing.  Add to that a good respirator, safety glasses, ear protection, water resistant clothing, boots, and gloves if it’s cold, and you are truly a beautiful sight even before you’re all splattered with water-soaked granite dust.  Try it — you may love it, too.

    My inspiration for the Twist was this: ok I bought this stone, a long, thin rectangular column, at a really fair price; now what could a sculptor do with it?  That thought process eventually made me wonder what it would look like if the column could be twisted 90 degrees along its length.  I’ll tell you how I went about this, but first, here’s what I had envisioned, and here is, indeed, how it turned out:

    Since this was my first attempt at carving granite, getting to this point was a long process.  I wasn’t sure I could carve it the way I wanted so I tried it out in clay first. It was exacting work to get the line of all the edges in the proper locations and correct relative orientation.  It was also difficult to get two independent complex curved surfaces to come together to form the appropriate continuously curved line.

    After it was carved, of course, my next task was to mount it.  I purchased a granite remnant from a quarry in the Sierras for the base and flattened and polished the cut surface to a black mirror finish. My first plan was to stand the white Twist on the black plane, but the proportions didn’t work so I laid it on top horizontally, as you see in the photo.  I liked that, but I couldn’t find anything to esthetically connect the two pieces.

    Finally, after various aborted mountings it’s now in a permanent home just outside our dining area window (first photo) where we see it every day, hooray!