Creating sculpture takes patience. Creating Calcite sculpture takes extraordinary patience. Working with Calcite is a different experience than working with marble or granite. Like the grain pattern in a piece of wood, marble has a bedding plane. When I carve marble I use the bedding plane as a map for where and how I will make my cuts. Calcite is formed from crystals so it has a ‘chaotic’ grain. When I carve Calcite I jump into a tangled pattern of stone. I use a number of different diamond saws to create my shapes out of the Calcite. I can’t use the traditional hammer & chisel because the impact of those blows would fracture the stone. When I do use an air hammer it is with extreme precision.
Once the basic shape is roughed out, I use a wide variety of air & electric powered sanders to fashion the piece into its final form. Calcite requires a tremendous amount of grinding. I take my pieces so thin that I have to study all the different planes. I work with different sanders depending on the thickness and type of edge. With Calcite I always look for ways to remove the stone without stressing the crystals.
Finishing a Calcite piece is also unique. A traditional T Barny piece is polished to a fine glass-like finish. The light reflects off that surface to give the marble a sparkle. Calcite is finished by using muratic acid to open the crystals. With Calcite I am trying to bring the light into the piece to make the pattern of crystal’s glow. Then the light emerges through the various hues of honey gold.