The Last Mile
It’s hard to believe that almost four months have past since the inception of my sculptural work for Creative Pinellas. It’s been quite an incredible journey! Realizing a dream to create three monumental sculptures in carrara, the most elegant of marbles, has been nothing short of sheer joy and satisfaction! But we’re not finished yet. And that’s why I wanted to speak today about the finishing process. Now that the majority of the form has been created, it’s time to do what I call “finesse the details”. As I polish and try to remove the scratches made by the tools, the pieces really begin to come to life for me. The mable shows me how I must attend to its surface so I can create a level of sheen that best compliments the design and shows off the character of the stone. This time is so exciting for me but at times can be very challenging and arduous. At this stage of the game I’ve got to dig in and know that I will spend many hours sanding and polishing.
Marble is 6 on the Mohs hardness scale for stone between 1 to 10 so I really have to use some elbow grease to remove the scratches. For me, a pristine surface has to be the end result. Since the pieces weigh somewhere between 225 and 325 lbs. and cannot be easily moved, I must get into some pretty tight spaces and weird angles. I’m jumping on and off platforms, kneeling on the floor, twisting and bending as much as my body can to get at every single area of the piece. Every inch will be worked and examined. It’s a major workout to say the least and challenging my stamina on these intensely hot summer days. I expect to go at least 5 or 6 levels of sanding before the final polish. And since the exhibit will be on 9/12, I’ve got to move at a quick pace.
I liken it to my own version of a marathon since I’ve never run one. My friend Cesar does however and he’s told me tales of how grueling the last mile can be. Your body may crying out in pain and your mind telling you to stop but your heart has a different agenda. It knows that if you can just make it through this last mile it will all be worth it. A higher purpose must kick in during the last mile. And that higher purpose is to create a object of beauty that inspires and uplifts those who see it. It is my joy and honor to do this art and present it on behalf a wonderful organization, Creative Pinellas and our beautiful community.
By Christina Bertsos