Sculpting stone starts with the raw stone. Its form is the heart of its design. The raw stone provides the enduring strength, bringing ongoing pleasure. The stone selection comes from various quarries in the provinces of Zimbabwe. Most of the special pieces have come from the Great Dyke Belt in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwean artists, including Patrick, use types of stone native to their home country. The stone belongs to the geological family Serpentine. It is said to be over 2 billion years in the making. Patrick prefers using this type of rock because of its hardness, natural colour, texture and creative formation.
Zimbabwe is a Shona word that means the great house of stone.
Zimbabwean art is also well known as Shona art
Zimbabwean sculptors are much inspired by what they hear, see or dream in their everyday life. Past experiences provide emotional context and message harmony. Finding the stone with a form and flow, patina, and of the right size becomes the foundation of expression the creation will be based on.
Patrick’s work reflects what is happening in society. Each member in the culture contributes perspective. In Zimbabwe, each artist has their own personal and unique style. Focusing mostly in human figurs – especially men, women and children lets their activities contribute, to educate, teach or warn society. The rock – and the inspiration received from the rock – focuses the decisions on what the sculpture will eventually become. Sometimes, the rock presents its own vision.
"My inspiration comes from the shape of the stone."
Patrick works only with hand tools. His tool set consists of a stone hammer, a chasing hammer (i.e. with unique teeth), chisels, rasps, files and point punches. The tool used depends on the stone and the type of texture needed to achieve the sculptural clarity that the artist’s minds eye sees.
1. Select the stone with respect for its natural elements.
2. Rumination and communicating with the stone brings a gathering of the right hand tools
3. The artist starts cutting the stone using a hammer and a point punch to begin shaping the piece.
4. The shape make itself known as the stones character works with the artist as they follows the stones lead.
5. Then comes chisel work for detailing and revealing the core stone surfaces.
6. Rasps and files highlight specific areas and details the atrist wants to bring out in the piece.
7. Different grades of wet and dry sandpaper polish the piece, smoothening reveals and accentuates beautiful colours.
8. The pores of the stone are opened by heating, to allow the careful application of natural wax on critical areas.
9. The sculpture is then left to cool and allow the wax to dry. This holds the natural colour of the sculpture.
10. A loving buff of the sculpture, using a soft mutton cloth, brings a high gloss to the piece.
11. The sculpture is finished when the artist is satisfied and pleased.
12. The sculpture is ready for sale. It is carefully and securely crated for eventual gallery display and be delivery to its final home.
Patrick is often asked if he sketches or draws in advance of starting a piece.
"“No, I do not. I prefer to communicate directly with the stone respecting its natural elements. Together we create the sculpture. I believe that’s what makes my work so unique and powerful.”
If I draw, I feel like I’m forcing something to come out of stone...
I and the stone … we speak the same language.
When I sell my sculpture, I feel very happy, but I feel missing it more once its gone. Its like having a baby, you understand much better all the stages you go through with it in life."