Carving the Original Marble Sculpture:
February 2006: I became aware of the existence of this zebra marble from Utah when my friend Vasily Fedorouk showed me some of his newest sculptures while we were at the MARBLE/marble Symposium in Colorado one summer. He even gave me pieces left over from his sculpting. So I asked my friend Myles Schachter to bring me the largest piece of zebra he could find. Myles sells stone and I knew he was on his way to a gem show in that part of the country. And afterwards, he was headed to my home in Texas to help with a stone carving workshop that I was teaching with Vasily.
Anyway, this is a good-sized piece (it weighed 221 pounds before carving).
Above: the bird's eye view
Below, 1 March 2006: At first glance it might appear to be perfect for lips (you may even be able to see the pouting lower lip in the profile shot, above), but in reality, that was only true from one dimension. The rock was simply not there for making a full upper lip. So, I had to cut off some from both ends to create a more lip-like form.
Below, 2 March 2006: Another problem with this individual stone: a lot of cracks throughout. Not all cracks are weak points. Some are just interesting veining and will not cause a problem. But this one below WAS a problem. Off with it. And redesign.
Zebra Lips has been sealed so that you may safely touch it - no damage from the oils on your fingers. Although this is a marble from Utah and the sealer will protect it, this stone had more noticeable veining than other marbles I have carved and I would be a little nervous saying that you may display it outside without some concern. That said, IF a good stone sealer is reapplied each year and/or IF the collector brings the stone in for the freezing months, there should be no problem. [The sealer is designed to keep water out of the seams in the stone. If water gets inside and the conditions are right, the stone may split.]