This series of classes taught by Joel Faucher is focused on learning the process, tools and techniques needed to bring ordinary pieces of granite to life with aesthetic appeal. By the end of the class, you will have carved a handmade bowl (soap dish, birdbath, fruit bowl, etc) and have the confidence of being able to expand on the craft.
Week 1 - Intro to safety, tools and learning to read a stone. We will discuss how to comfortably start cutting and which techniques are most effective. We'll go over how to change a blade, preventative measures to avoid cuts, safety gear to be used, etc. Joel will demonstrate on a large boulder the rudimentary aspects of sculpture. This piece will be a practice stone for the class to use before starting their first bowl. A stone will then be chosen to make easy cuts to learn how to level their piece. Students will then mark the stone and adjust accordingly by using a level to achieve perfection.
Week 2 - Starting the bowl. Angles will be discussed and demonstrated to learn how maximize blade life and avoid breaking or fractures. The old world craftsmanship of using a chisel and hammer will then be introduced. Joel will explain how to read the stone for clues on the easy ways to cut such as woodworking. Techniques will be learned in how to apply safe amounts of pressure, different blade types will be explored at the same time. By the end of the class the core shape of the project will be exposed.
Week 3 - Learning how to use advanced blades for smoothing and polishing. A “fly cup” wheel is now used to remove any visible lines made in the coring process. Free form sculpture is introduced as the stone itself begins to suggest shape and options to expose the natural flair found within each piece. Interesting and unique colors will be revealed from within the stone and the student now has an opportunity to become the artist. Joel will review and closely work with each individual to assist in talking out the options seen to work towards completion of the sculpture.
Week 4 - Work towards completion of bowl. Start hand sanding and polishing through several grits to achieve a finished result. Joel will demonstrate what each blade does for refining and adding depth and character. Some advanced techniques will be discussed and displayed for those ready to advance.
Week 5 and 6 - Open studio time. Students can consider adding depth to their bowls by inscribing detail if desired. Joel will also provide extra stone for those who want to start another project as time allows. Review of techniques, inspiration and preview to advanced class format. If students are able to catch on quicker than expected than we will start working larger concepts.