Sunday, July 12, 2009

Carving like a Slave (Intagliando Come uno Schiavo...)

I've just been carving marble like a slave this weekend. A highly trained slave with some cold Japanese beer, which I'm pretty sure they didn't have back in the olden days. Well, I take that back, because in the first century AD, 30% of the entire population of Rome was made up of slaves, so they probably had beer readily accessible, but I'm not entirely sure if they'd made contact with the Japanese yet.

Did I mention it was hot outside? It was 103F / 39.4C outside and I was feeling it.

Here are some pictures of the progression as of Saturday. I love the way the V-incised letters cast shadows. This kind of result cannot be obtained through sandblasting with a rubber mat (the quick and skill-less alternative). The curves in the letters are particularly fun to carve (as I found out with the 'D', and then the 'C' on Sunday).

Also, I've been booking hotel rooms for the Italy trip. Mom (who I'm taking) is excited, and I can't wait to be back in Venice again.

Clearly visible is my Tom Perkins book, which is the best book on stone lettering I've ever even heard of. His work is amazing and the book is too, and has helped me realize this project.

Sto intagliando le lettere in un segno di pietra. La birra ha aiutato a me per non essere uno schiavo. Sarò in Italia in ottobre se chiunque ha marmi buona da vendere a me. ;)


  1. wow eric, that SERIOUSLY is incredible. I'm at a loss for words that it so awesome.

  2. where did you get the marble btw?

  3. Looking fantastic!

    I can imagine marble carving is very thirsty work.

  4. Epic that is eric.

    Damn, what I meant was...

    Eric that is epic.


    Sei bravissimo, sembra davvero un'incisione antica e che pazienza che hai! Se ti serve il marmo QUESTO ( è quello adatto, credo... :) UN BACIO!

    Grazie per i complimenti ai miei racconti sei gentile! kiss

  6. Mr. Condescending, thanks! I bought the marble from a local dealer in Dallas who accidently dropped a slab and I told him I'd buy some of it. I love the antique 'breccia' purple through it.

    Pru, thank you! It was so hot this weekend...

    Mo, you thank, I mean thank you. Hopefully the rest of it will turn out ok.

    Carissima Anna, Grazie mille! :)
    E grazie per informazione da marmo. Abraccios e bacios

  7. It looks fantastic!

    That's sweet that you're taking your mom. =)

    It has been unbearably hot this year...everywhere, I think. I tried to stay in the water as much as possible this past weekend.

  8. you're masterly talented! was a pleasure to look at the pics and read ur blog

  9. You know, Slave and Slav come from the same word. The Slavs were Slaves for the Romans. I think the Slavs called themselves something Sklabs, meaning "the beautiful people" or some such.

  10. I'm very impressed! But where are the pictures of your sweaty marble-dusted abs that you promised the Donut Girl?

    ; )

  11. Otherwordlyone - Thanks! My mom needs to get out of the house / country for a while.
    I was in the pool for a few hours this weekend myself, too hot down here in Texas for sure.

    ladytruth, thanks much, and thanks for stopping by. I've seen your comments on Mo's and some other places. I'll have to read through your blog later today.

    Mjenks, I did not know that, thanks! There's a story behind almost every word, huh?

    Soda, thanks much! Haha, you can see my shirtless reflection in the window on the last picture if you squint a bit (at least my broad sweaty marble-dusted shoulders are visible above the marble, lol).

  12. AnonymousJuly 13, 2009

    Lovely work, dude. You are quite the talent.

    Aside: In my high school Latin class, when I was about 12, our Latin teacher used to take us out in the playground on nice days and hold "slave auctions" where he'd sell off half the class (wearing curtains as togae) to the other half. We'd have to stand on a chair and have him yell "What are you to bid for this fine specimen?" and we'd all yell back largely inappropriate things till he sold you for two M&Ms and a can of Coke.

    I have a feeling that selling 12 year olds these days would be illegal even if only for fun.

  13. Well, if Texas heat is dry like Oklahoma...I could deal with that a lot easier than this SC humidity!

  14. I can't come here anymore. You always remind me of the lack of "Doing Constructive Things" in my life.

    Seeya tomorrow.

  15. Wow, it must give you enormous satisfaction to creat something enduring with your own hands.
    I'm creatively challenged so I have no idea.
    Well that's not intierly true. I made a clay dove once... or was it a duck? Anyway, it was a real piece of art/shit.

    P.S. Please ask your mom to kiss a gondelier for me (on the cheek!). I could ask you to do the same thing but I don't want to jeopardize your manhood :-)

  16. Vegetable Assassin, thanks! I like the idea that a person can make something in stone that will last for lifetimes.
    That is an odd thing for your old teacher to do, our coaches in school were usually the weird ones that didn't want to be bothered with teaching too much.
    Maybe my perception would change if I had a kid of my own because I would be super overprotective, but it seems like people nowdays are more sensitive and litigation happy about lots of things in general.

    Otherworldlyone, no humidity was the only way I could deal with outside this weekend, other than the humidity of the healthclub pool. :)

    LiLu, lol, you are creative, I'm sure you will find a constructive and fun hobby. Hurry back! : )

    Dutch Donut Girl, Yes you are spot-on about the enduring part. Stone lasts literally several years, so it is what I like most.
    Aww, I bet it was a nice clay dove/duck/dovuck?
    P.S. Thanks for the great idea, my mom is kinda shy so maybe a hug on the gondolier.
    I'll take a picture of that for sure!

  17. So that is the "L" that you carved and tweeted about, eh??

    It looks LOVELY, Eric!!!

    I need a hobby.

  18. Lopez, thanks!!! Yep, I've been kind of skipping around though since it takes a while for each letter.

    Last night I dreamed about a big typewriter thing that you could just hit a key on and it would chisel out marble. I had the plans, but they were stolen by the evil monkey alligator guy.

    A hobby? Other than the awesome running career you have now after boot camp?
    ps - will send you some links on painting self portrait if you want to do that for bucket list.

  19. Thanks Toni, you know I think your work is absolutely amazing. This letter carving isn't difficult, just a bit of patience needed.

    The way shadows cast on the classical letter forms is great though. It changes at different times of the day, but still visible from a distance in the marble.

  20. ah.. see I have no patience. It looks like you need a plan of action, and a lot of precision along with the patience. Those 3 things just don't work for me. So, to me, this is really amazing.

    I also find those cast shadows intriguing. They change constantly with the sun, but yet each letter is still crisp and clear? Cool.