Serenity / Serenità
- 13 h x 21 w x 14 d, about 49 kilos (about 108 pounds)
- Marble from Pietrasanta/Carrara (Calacatta luccicante)
- I cristalli sono di pirite [pyrite crystals in the face, alone the veins of gold
- copyright 2018-2021 Kelly Borsheim
This is a marble portrait of an imaginary woman with lots of flowing hair. Her eyes are closed as she moves into her head, meditating and peaceful. The hair flows around and then in front of her face like billowing clouds or the crests of waves. Skies or seas, she feels at one with herself and the world around her.
The marble is white with gold veining. Small pyrite crystals (aka fools' gold) are embedded in both cheeks along the lines of the veins. I got the stone from a stone dealer in Pietrasanta, Italy, a town famous for stone sculptors and near the more famous Carrara stone quarries.
You may easily note the color differences in the nose, from carving depth into colored layers of stone. The only way to eliminate this is to carve the face further back into the stone. But there is no guarantee that what lies within would be more patterned or less. However, likely more since the side view of this triangular-shaped stone shows the gold parts of the rock are more in the back, with white in the front, mostly where the fluffy locks of hair reside.
For me, the face reminds me of Vitiligo. "Vitiligo is a condition in which the skin loses its pigment cells (melanocytes). This can result in discolored patches in different areas of the body, including the skin, hair and mucous membranes. Vitiligo (vit-ih-LIE-go) is a disease that causes loss of skin color in patches."
I have a couple of friends with this skin condition. I find them beautiful just the same. I also decided that I like the look of stone more than I like a totally solid face.
Another point to notice. There is a crack that falls right between the left and right sections of hair that meet in front of the face of the woman. My original design for Serenity was to have her hands folded in front of her with the hair over the elbows. However, once I discovered the extent of the crack, as I carved into the marble, I decided to remove the hands and extend the hair. The hope is that with the stone touching and supporting itself, perhaps the crack will never become a problem. However, if it does break, then there is enough marble there for me to simply reshape/recarve the curls of hair, without changing much the composition or idea.
You may see in the top view (bird's eye view) of this marble sculpture that I carved a large wide hole in the stone below the neck and behind the hair that circles in front of the face. This was for several reasons, the main one being in case this sculpture is display outdoors. The hole allow for water to escape. Had I simply carved between the neck and hair, the water would pool in the lower "tub" and that would not be good for the marble.
The stone has been sealed to protect it from finger oils and weather. However, if you choose to put the sculpture outdoors, you should clean and reseal the stone sculpture at least once a year. Indoors, cleaning with a damp cloth, maybe a wee bit of gentle soap should be fine, or seal or use a transparent wax once in a while.
The Marble Carving Process for Serenity:
2018 August: My friend and fellow carver Kumiko Suzuki and I had gone to Pietrasanta, the city of stone carvers, where we buy tools and stone, and see other artists. I secured this gold and white marble piece and we drove back to our local quarry in Valleriana, Tuscany. The owner allowed us to carve there and it was good to cut some of the weight down, lunching with colleague friends, and just enjoying the open air of the mountains.
It took me a week or two to come up with an idea for my stone. I am not often a fan of the heart shape. I use it on social media because the symbol means something to most people, but I would not decorate my home with the shape. It seems too ... obvious? I do not know. Maybe I am a predictable non-conformist.
But a triangle is so easy to change into a heart and I saw an upside down shape here, drawing face and hair that morphs into hands, one resting upon the other.
2018 Aug 22: Drawing in the basic slant of the head in profile
Good view of the back side with layers of golden rock alternating with white marble. I was a bit worried that this quality would mean that the stone would chip off in these layers. But it has not become a problem.
2018-09-10: Shaping the skull first by scoring the marble in parallel lines. Then to take a hammer and chisel and knock away between the lines, I do not go to the quarry every day. Besides, after I draw on the stone, I like to sleep on it a few nights. Sometimes my subconscious either corrects or scraps the idea for another.
2018-09-10: Thinking of the angle of the face based on how much rock and its shape is in the brain area.
2019-05-29: Making some progress between other projects, draw, cut, redraw, remove material, repeat. The original definition of the verb "to sculpt" is "to remove material."
2019-05-29: Sculptor Kumiko Suzuki unwittingly mimics the lean of my studio while we both work at the quarry. Art imitates life! I enjoy this image. Do you?
2019-07-18: The artist poses with her work-in-progress marble sculpture after cutting a large hole into the bottom of the stone. This is the last day at the quarry since my other projects have concluded to the point that I am ready to work daily on this sculpture.
2019-07-21: Artist selfie after my neighbor helped me move my stone from the car to my little work area below a dirt road.
2019-08-03: Here you may see the chisel marks and that it is clear that my face is too low for the height of it.
2019-08-03: Deciding the orientation of the skull based on where stone exists, the top view gives me this information more than all other points of view. Even though the viewer may not see the back of this head, I want the face to match the skull just the same. So, the face has to go back at an angle, the left further back than the right. It is why I have not cut off too much nose, for that would limit me or cause me to have to carve even deeper.
2019-08-19: Just more drawing and cutting. Looking at the piece from several angles to try to create an interesting design and believable anatomy.
2019-11-20: The crack in the marble has become obvious and now I must redesign the hands.
2020-03-11: It is fun to have an assistant dog in the studio. This is Gregory da Pisa and he lives with my landlord, but comes to hang out with me whenever he can.
2020-03-17: St. Patrick's Day, Another selfie of artist with sculpture. Here the mostly finished "Helping Hands" in black marble with this white and gold marble portrait.
Now, we have arrived to 2020, the year of the dreaded Covid 19 virus. I was fortunate to receive a commission "Sisters," that started some time in April and was received in Texas in November. Naturally, Serenity was put on hold so that I could focus on this double portrait commissioned sculpture.
2021-03-10: Here is Serenity after I applied a stone sealer to her finished form in marble. Assistant dog Gregory watches and approves.