I am a direct carver. The shape of the boulder suggests an idea. I draw on the stone and attack it with a pneumatic tooth chisel. Sometimes if alot of stone needs to be removed, I first use my angle grinder with a 4" diamond blade.
Usually I start with the human figure. I create the torso or lower body and then look for a smaller stone whose color creates an interesting contrast to become the head. I have been know to have stone body parts sitting around the studio waiting for the perfect match! I like to combine different type stones to create a more contemprary look to the age old stonessculpture process. The pieces evolve almost on there own. After roughing out the shape, I use an half round cabient file to create flowing forms.
Lately my human forms have no arms. the face and body gesture create the expression. I am now moving toward creating full legth figues who gracfully turn and twist. I like the stone to feel LIGHT!. I want my images to generate a response from the viewer. More carving is done using carbide and diamond burrs with air grinders. Italian riffle hand files are used to create eyes, fingers and small details.
The final sanding is long and tedious. Usually seven grades of sandpaper are used to create the polished surface. The piece is finished with a wax to protect it and add a slight shine. Certain areas as skin or hair may be left less sanded and not waxed to create separation of form. If possible I like to leave some of the area raw so the stony quality is evident.
When wood is carved an electric chain saw and pneumatic wood gouges are used.
My sculptures appear to be "born" out of the material. I feel sometimes I am more midwife than creator. The mystery is not only in the finished image but also in the process.