Sunday, 24 April 2016

A brilliant day part 2, up in the mountains

After a fine morning seeing my sculptures patinated, I was taken out into the middle of nowhere.  I didn't think the day could get any better but I had the best ever tour guide, Fabricio, who decided that I needed to see more of this beautiful place before I have to leave. He knows these mountains, inside the hundreds of miles of caves and out all across the tops too, like the back of his hand. The weather was stunning, glorious sunshine and clear so we had superb views. 

A view across to the quarry where Michelangelo got his stone, now the skyline is protected and it is not permitted to cut the tops down flat like they were then. Carara is on the other side, we could hear some quarrying but it was muted

Looking the other way

 Moving on, we went through forest to a valley between the heights; Fabricio striding out across the summer pastures, I was reminded of my childhood reading Heidi. There were no roads, no tarmac for miles and it was so quiet! No traffic or aircraft. A woodpecker pounding away in the distance, a cuckoo possibly and lots of other bird song

 old terracing for vegetables

 a church in the middle of the pastures, we passed very dozy cows with huge horns to get here, I think they were thinking a la Noel Coward 'Mad dogs and Englishmen', it was a very warm day.


 A small town still being renovated after a devastating mud slide 20 years ago

Finally after a small hike through some undergrowth, we found this, an amazing waterfall that Disney would have proud of, 

 and yes I slipped but only had wet feet. Thank you Fabry, for a wonderful day

A brilliant day part 1, patination

This week has been excellent, my sculptures, which have been impossible to photograph properly while they are in black wax have finally begun to reach the patination room. They have been transformed from wax to bronze, cleaned up and sandblasted. Bronze is a very labour intensive process and there are no shortcuts. However, .........
 The end results! 

and how they got there........


  patination in progress with Michela

Monday, 11 April 2016

fun times with a pantograph

I am spending the next few days away from the foundry learning how to enlarge a sculpture using a pantograph - oh yes I am. This has been fantastic. Setting up-

 an armature

 difficult to see but small black sculpture to be enlarged and looking out across the studio

 view from the doorway looking up into the mountains behind pietrasanta

 and the resident geese who kept tapping on the door. All this to Bach cello suite, Tchaikovsky and some Latin jazz, and no Bee Gees whatsoever

Sunday, 10 April 2016


Florence is sublime, I spent the day in the Piazza del Duomo and although this is not far from the station, I walked ALL day! not only did my feet ache, I had a crick in my neck from looking up. It is so well worth the aching feet and the jaw dropping constantly. In the Baptistry, glorious 

In the Brunelleschi chapel with some gruesome images of hell, not in evidence here, I thought they would be X rated today

the stairs going over the roof to the cupola - not for the faint hearted and there was no lift! It was even worse coming down
looking up 

                                     looking in

Archaeological markers in the ceiling

looking out

and another glorious view, this one over the Med

vespers and more vespas

Some of the Reliquaries in Florence containing bits of bodies, there was a lot of bling. There was the most sublime church music playing in each venue all day

and more vespa's in the market, no music here though

Saturday, 2 April 2016

more shells

This is the shell ceiling of the 'Tribuna' room in the Uffizi Gallery. Designed by Beranardo Buontalenti  for Francesco I de’ Medici in 1584 to display  paintings and sculptures  of the Medici collection, there are a total of 6 000 shells of pinctada margaritifera - 650 mother of pearl shell in each of the 8 sections, I did not count them.

 plaster Venus

 the incredible Botticelli  Venus

 and in a shop window on my way back to the station