Andrew Wilson Smith

Video of Sculptor Andrew Wilson Smith at Clear Creek, Oklahoma

Here is small video of sculptor Andrew Wilson Smith who is currently working at Clear Creek monastery. I enjoyed seeing him work and the hints we got of the process by which he actually works. I also enjoyed the views of the monastery. I would have loved to have seen a little of more of him working and little less of the human interest aspects (such as scenes of him wet shaving), but that's just me I guess. I wrote a piece, here, last year about his methods and his work at the monastery. He had described this to me over the phone, but I found it interesting to seem him doing it on film.

The Completed Capitals at Clear Creek Abbey Sculpted by Andrew Wilson Smith

Andrew Wilson Smith has now completed the capitals for Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma. Shown here are the clay models he made as part of process. Unfortunately I do not have photos that I can post on this site - some sort of technical difficulty that I don't understand! However, you can see good images of the finished work at his site here. Some readers may remember that I showed some photos of the work in its early stages earlier this year, here.The technique that Andrew uses is very interesting. He models it first in clay (this is the work we saw earlier). Then he makes a mold and plaster cast. Using this cast as a model he then sculpts the finished product out of stone. To help him he uses a device that was developed in the late Renaissance and was used a lot by sculptors in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is an external frame that is fixed to the cast at three points. Then within the stone he creates three identical points. This means that the frame, which sits around the cast, can be fixed to the stone in an identical position. From there moving armatures are used to measure positions on the cast relative to these three fixed positions. When the frame is transferred to the stone, the movement in the armatures tell him how far into the stone he must now cut in order to fix the surface in the stone carving in an identical position. In this way he builds up a series of reference points, just like using a grid in two-dimensional drawing, from which he can carve the final sculpture in stone. This method was used, for example, by the Nordic sculptor of the 18th century, Bertel Thorvaldsen.

The Carvings of Andrew Wilson Smith

Here are photos of work in progress by American sculptor Andrew Wilson Smith. They are for capitals at Our Lady of the Annunciation Benedictine monastery at Clear Creek in Oklahoma (well worth a visit at any time). His style here reminds me of medieval relief carvings. Andrew tells me that he expects to be finished in a couple of months. We have been promised fresh pictures at that point and I can't wait to see what they will look like.

Looking at his work, his commissions have required him to tackle quite a range of subjects and some in a more naturalistic style. Through all of these it is possible to his own mark coming through in a natural and appropriate way. I feel that his individual style sits well within the gothic form and I would love to see him receive more commissions of this type. This view is, no doubt, heavily skewed by my own love of gothic art and architecture!

For those who wish to read more about him, Smith was interviewed by Matthew Alderman for the current issue of Dappled Things.