A Continuous Shape
May 22, 2017 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Filmmakers Jack Webber and Tommaso Di Paola spent 3 weeks working alongside Anna Rubincam, a contemporary stone carver working in London, as she carved a portrait from start to finish.

More of Rubincam's work: Blindfolded Woman front rear (portland stone), Old Hero (verde ardesie marble), Monkey Gargoyle (bath stone) , Portrait of Queen Victoria (Bath Stone).
via kottke
posted by not_the_water (24 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
That description of it being a continuous shape is brilliant and very to-the-point. Impressive work.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:20 PM on May 22, 2017

Really well done. Thanks for pointing this out.
posted by photoslob at 5:48 PM on May 22, 2017

Beautiful work! I wish the video had lingered a bit on the finished sculpture, showing the polished results up close.
posted by darkstar at 5:58 PM on May 22, 2017

I wish there was a five hour director cut of her working on just the face
posted by not_the_water at 6:51 PM on May 22, 2017 [7 favorites]

All of her work is just breathtaking. The Alice in Wonderland quote is sublime.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 8:02 PM on May 22, 2017

This is wonderful. Thank you.
posted by rtha at 9:34 PM on May 22, 2017

Love her Drapery Study
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:57 PM on May 22, 2017

That was gorgeous. Although also super-stressful when it was ALMOST done and she starts the detail work on the eyes.

(Although I suppose that's true of many arts/crafts, where you do tons of work and then there's fiddly finishing bits that can wreck the whole thing but you've done them hundreds of times so it's okay.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:06 PM on May 22, 2017

I found the opening stuff in the video a bit much. 'How mad I must be - to carve in stone, of all things! What a quixotic life path; but I'm driven by a compulsion that can't be denied!"

Yeah, what kind of madwoman would take on a high-status occupation that was immensely rewarding both personally and in terms of recognition, and potentially pretty lucrative at the same time?
posted by Segundus at 11:23 PM on May 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Buy them here...
posted by Segundus at 11:30 PM on May 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

high-status occupation

ikr, "doctor, lawyer, banker or stone carver", my parents would always say
posted by jklaiho at 12:04 AM on May 23, 2017 [11 favorites]

Heh, I like her more whimsical stuff as well, as shown in the link. Would it be terribly pretentious to have a carved stone monument in my suburban garden?
posted by Harald74 at 12:49 AM on May 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

"doctor, lawyer, banker or stone carver", my parents would always say

They were good people and I hope you profited from their parental counsel.

'Sculptor' goes down rather better than 'banker' at the sort of Soho gin-tasting I frequent; but your friends may be less pretentious. I grant you that these pieces are from a craft background rather than a fine art one. I've found that introducing oneself as a 'mason' gets complicated, though.
posted by Segundus at 2:01 AM on May 23, 2017

Really nice video
Was surprised at how few electric or pneumatic tools she used. I imagine it is satisfying to do it all by hand but in twenty years, when the tendons get tired and the arthritis sets in she just might embrace water-jet cutters and hell pneumatic 3D carvers.
Over the last 20 years or so there's been a revisiting of lots of minimalist ideas in painting and sculpture, where instead of the 'hand' being invisible and the object appearing to be purely machine generated the object (as 'non-human'/'industrial' or simply not a thing you find in nature) clearly looks to be hand-made: lines are slightly wobbly, dimensions a touch imperfect.
ok, this is from a different concept - and no less 'valuable' because of it - but with her level of skill that conceptual sophistication cant be that far off
posted by From Bklyn at 4:36 AM on May 23, 2017

Re: madwoman, it's true that sculptor is a high status profession, but it's also not one you can merely decide to be. You can only try to be, and the vast majority of those who try, fail. Even for someone as clearly talented as she is, the thing about knocking up a gargoyle for a cornice is that once you've done one you don't need need to do another for 400 years or so, and it's not like there's a bunch of rampaging Normans about the place throwing up new cathedrals and castles every six miles. I wouldn't be surprised if getting a steady stream of commissions was difficult.
posted by Diablevert at 5:50 AM on May 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

I wish there was a five hour director cut of her working on just the face.

This is a low-key-genius idea for craftsman videos like this one, and it's the kind of thing that's feasible in our modern era of cheap bandwidth. Being able to watch all the little nuances of a craftsman working, uncut, would be amazing.
posted by mhoye at 6:09 AM on May 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

So what you're saying is sand dogs are real, then?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 6:52 AM on May 23, 2017

This may as well be magic as far as I'm concerned. I can't conceive of the skill it takes to do something like this.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:59 AM on May 23, 2017

I had to give up stone carving because of the physical wear and tear (as a musician, it was a choice of small injuries vs. large), but this both made me miss the work and satisfied my joy in the work. Thank you!
posted by pt68 at 7:45 AM on May 23, 2017

I loved how she talked about looking. Looking back and forth and the frenetic things your brain is doing when you are looking. It rings true with all the interests I've gravitated toward – photography, graphic design, architecture. I'm not a very talented illustrator or drawer but I looooove taking drawing classes where you are allowing your brain that space to analyze, think, look and then translate to another form.
posted by amanda at 8:19 AM on May 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

And the clay model beginning to crumble in the background! This is great. Thanks!
posted by amanda at 8:20 AM on May 23, 2017

I may have just fallen in love. (Sighs, starts doodling hearts on notebook.) I loved the monologues, but wish some of the rest had been less "arty" and more involved. I would watch the hell out of this artist's youtube series (if it existed) in the model of the wooden boat-maker recently featured in an FPP.

I cannot imagine being the subject for a piece of art (and not only because the world doesn't need my countenance immortalized): That level of scrutiny would be unnerving.
posted by maxwelton at 9:53 AM on May 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wow, I have such a mind/creativity-crush on Anna Rubincam after watching that video. (Which was nicely done; applause to the filmmakers.) Thanks for posting this!
posted by Lexica at 7:56 PM on May 23, 2017

I really love listening to people talk about their work, whatever it is, and very much enjoyed this.
posted by Orlop at 7:15 AM on May 24, 2017

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