This is the Black Madonna (and her child) after about 15 carving sessions.
The stone you see with my glasses on top is what this piece looked like at the start. You can see my hammer next to it.
I carve all by hand, using small chisel and files called rifflers. I carve at about 2 or 3 hours at a time, although sometimes I’ll put in a full day. Hard to do as it’s pretty tiring work. Imagine swinging a 2-pound hammer all day – you get tired!
It probably will take me a good 45 to 60 hours total to finish this using just hand tools. If I were using air tools, it’d go monstrously faster, but I like the pace of hand tools.
I raised the hand on our right up so you can now see the child’s belly and the top of her thighs. It looked way too ponderous the way it was before. You actually have more latitude for moving elements around than you’d think, and I push the envelope as far as I can!
I wanted her to look like a mother, not a girl-friend, so I made the chins swing away from each other – this way they are pressing foreheads together, and that’s it. I also took away a lot of that heavy hair on the side.
Now it seems to me to be a double entendre: is it a child imagining being held by her mother? Or is it a mother holding her child? Or maybe it’s a child imagining herself as an adult, or dreaming an angel. I like to think of it as a mother transmitting her innate wisdom to her child. Now you make up your story about it!
See more artwork at AngelaTreatLyonART.com