Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Marble Adventure

I just signed on to an exciting new project: a 3-by-5-foot mosaic in marble. Cutting marble tiles requires stronger tools than the wheeled nippers I use for glass or ceramic. I had to purchase an official mosaic hammer and hardie for this job. The hammer looks like a geology hammer; the hardie is a large chisel; both are made from steel.  

So why do I have a picture of a stump here? You have to sink the hardie into a block of wood, and many people use large stumps for the job because they are solid and sturdy. I found this stump of an old fig tree in the neighborhood and hauled it home. However, now that I have it here, I think it might just stay in my garden. For one thing, there's not a whole lot of room in my studio. For another, I'd probably have to fumigate it first. But I love its cross section with the whorls of fused vines. My other option for the hardie is to find a block of 6-by-6 post, which I like better than the stump for its portability; I can clamp it onto a table anywhere I'm working. 

Marble is a new material for me, but I've been wanting to do something in this medium for a long time, so I'm happy for the chance to jump in with both feet! This week I'm placing orders for the tile, and as soon as I get the hammer and hardie I'll set it up and start practicing. A friend told me that there is a bit of a steep learning curve for cutting marble, but I watched a YouTube video and it didn't look too hard, and I've been thinking about it for so long that I feel that I've already done it, in a way. Every act starts in the mind.

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