Recently, I moved to a beautiful place with a workshop that is much larger and more inspiring than where I used to live. After just under 10 years of Skulpting Skulls, Dragons and Power Pendants, I've built up a body of work that is quite impressive –as is the worldwide group of enthusiastic Guardians who value my work both aesthetically and spiritually. I now have all the space I need, a storage place for about 200 different minerals and stones and when the noise of my machines has died down, I hear a chorus of birds chirping outside…
This base has been fantastic for a year now to take the next step in my development, which I have been looking forward to for years: the Monumentals, the really large works. Years ago, I already talked about making large works, but in my previous work situation that was actually not possible. I lived and worked in an area that was too densely populated near the center of the village. So, I postponed it. Now this was no longer necessary, but I still noticed that I had doubts. Can I handle it, is it really necessary, wouldn't those smaller works be good enough? I could live to be a hundred Skulpting these, considering how many people buy my work… I mean, it often happens that a Skulpture is online for less than 10 minutes before it's gone. In short, for months I always found an excuse not to start.
Still, there always was the nagging feeling that it was high time for a new challenge. A step that would take me out of my comfort zone and in turn give even more inspiration to all my work. And aren't those steps, isn’t that development, what life is about?
Blood Sweat and tears
As so often, it was my favorite stone companion Preseli Bluestone that tied the knot for me. Good customers of mine, a couple from Scotland who are deeply involved in the “Gothic” and “magic” culture and in earth healings, contacted me again after a long time. They reminded me that years ago they had asked me to make a lifelike Sword out of Preseli Bluestone. Apart from a few minor wishes, they mainly wanted the sword to be 'big'. The bigger the better. But otherwise I was free to do whatever I wanted… An assignment that I actually didn't feel like doing at all. I don't like the energy of the Sword, nor do I like working on commission. Yet something now made me say ‘yes’. I instantly knew that the sword had to be made in two parts, otherwise it would be too fragile. So I had to measure and fine-tune carefully to make the two parts fit – not to my liking either. In addition, there had to be organic and Celtic elements on it. All headaches! It was a job that cost me blood, sweat and tears and was nothing like the blissful flow in which I normally make my works.
When the raven-headed Sword was finished, I had to admit that its power was enormous. And I was certainly proud of myself for having accomplished this. In the package in which I would send the Sword, I put a note with the following advice: “The Sword energy is to be taken very seriously. Know what your intent is aimed at, when you wield the Sword. You will notice that afterwards there will be a period before and after your wish. This Sword cleaves.” And so I sent my very first large sword to the lucky recipients.
That weekend I had a restless sleep and suddenly I found the solution to one of my reasons for postponing the Monumentals: the right place. The right place to work on Monumentals is outside! This is due to the excessive dust and noise production of many of my stonemason's tools. How could I simply never have thought of that before! Just stand behind a fence, put a roof on it, roll out the extension cord and go. Nothing could stop me now. A beautiful large block of Preseli Bluestone stood ready and the next day I set to work as if there had never been any resistance at all.
That evening I reviewed the events and saw the obvious: my first Monumental was already finished! It was the Sword and during the Skulpting process its energy first had taken care of me. The doubt had been removed and given way to a bloom so natural that I didn't even notice it at first. The Sword now has its place in my Heritage Archive as my first Monumental and I feel that on all levels my work has reached a new phase.
I am only just at the beginning of this next phase, but already I feel really free and am able to challenge myself again. What is so special about Monumentals, especially in the exclusive and therefore expensive types of stone with which I work, is that a triangle is formed here, where the energy is extra high. Compare it to a violinist giving a concert with a real Stradivarius. This violin maker is famous for a reason, because the sound of the Stradivarius is great. But there is also the realization that you are playing on and listening to an ancient instrument that is very rare. The player knows that, the listener knows that. And that gives both of them an extra intention of playing and listening, extra energy. Another 'normal' top violin can objectively sound just as good, but experience is subjective. The violin player is able to put just that little bit extra into his playing and the listener just that little bit extra attention and receptivity. The result is a concert that really goes deeper than with 'just' a top violin.
Jewel of mother earth
The same is the case regarding the Monumentals. As a Skulptor I know that – certainly in this size – I am working on a precious and rare jewel of Mother Earth. This allows me to put just that little bit of extra energy and intention into my work. And whoever takes charge of the Monumental has the same experience. This isn't just any Skull, Dragon or Power Tool, it's a Monumental. Skulpture, Skulptor and Guardian form a triangle of respect and attention. And that gets the best out of how the Skulpture works. A rare type of stone in a rare size, has with utmost concentration and effort been translated into a completely unique Skulpture. Ready for eternity. That is growing, that is blooming!