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Stone Etching: The Timeless Art of Richard Bulman

By Michelle Marks

Stone has a timeless quality to it that many people find not only interesting, but compelling as well. Stone etching
is an art form that puts shapes and figures into a surface that will last the ages. This combining of art with stone isn't anything new; cultures have been doing it for centuries. It is really as old as art itself. Whether it be ancient Greek sculptures, Byzantine relics, Chinese engravings, or Olmec figures, stone is the medium of choice for many societies around the globe. When canvas, wood, plastics, and other perishable materials have long since departed, the works in stone will likely remain.

The timelessness of stone etching is probably one of the biggest reasons artists are drawn to it. But there are other reasons as well. In a recent conversation with artist Richard Bulman, of Bellingham, Washington, I learned that he prefers to work in stone because of its natural and varied surface. The textures and shapes in each stone surface are unique. Once the stone "speaks" to him, he commits to the figure or picture he has in mind, (or the one that reveals itself to him), to the surface. By etching along a natural line in the stone, or by shading here and there, he draws an image out of the stone, often with striking results.

I suppose there is a comfort in working with stone material, rather than forcing one's will upon it. Taking this gentler, more subtle approach elevates stone etching into a true art form. Anyone can grab a chisel and start hacking away at a rock. Even computerized sand blasting equipment or water jets are employed to etch in stone. But there is something unique and special about taking the personal and hands-on approach that Bulman prefers.

Being able to connect with the stone and really look at it allows the artist to discover its unique beauties and potential. Bulman is not frustrated if a certain piece of stone doesn't reveal itself to him immediately. Instead, he is content to set it aside and come back to it another day. Eventually, the stone will reveal its secrets and a stone etching can commence.

Bulman works primarily in slate. This is a permanent surface for his stone etching, and one that he prefers. I was especially struck with the way he elevates the human form by tastefully depicting it in his art. This does credit to not only our common humanity, but to the sensitivity and passion of this particular artist. Our society has become very good at debasing and objectifying the human body. Rather than going that route, Bulman skillfully etches each figure with love and skill. You can tell from each etching he does, that he really cares about his work.

My particular favorite Bulman stone etching piece is Atlas 1. This shows the classic male figure supporting a large round world on his left shoulder. It is a depiction of idealized perfection that captures the essence of my own vanity I suppose. The impact that the strength and power of the figure itself portrays, is second only to the way Bulman brings out the detail, depth, lighting, and presence of the slate itself. It is impressive to say the least, and I am glad it will be around forever.

You can see the timelessness and details of a Bulman stone etching at Fairhaven Originals Gallery (FOG).


Choosing a Funeral Poem

By Thomas Alan Lampsen

A funeral poem can be an ideal part of a meaningful memorial. Poetry has a wonderful way of communicating our deepest and most heartfelt feelings, making it ideal as a remembrance for a loved one. Choosing a funeral poem, however, can be challenging.

Most of us are not students of poetry. We don't spend our days studying free verse or iambic pentameter. We know that poetry speaks to us in times of great emotion and we know that it can uniquely encapsulate the sentiments of the human soul, but we don't know where to find the right words or how to really judge their ability to communicate to others.

Choosing the perfect memorial verse if further complicated by the nature of our mourning process. Our culture moves quickly when it comes to mourning and memorials. We're often rushed, fighting impossible schedules as we prepare a loved one's funeral services. The idea of poring over books of poetry at a time like that may seem to be nothing short of impossible.

Fortunately, we don't need to be experts on the art of poetry to select a perfect funeral poem and we don't need to spend hour after hour trying to find those right words. We can rely on carefully assembled compilations of classic poetry. These volumes were painstakingly arranged to assist those looking for a perfect funeral poem. Some are even available on the Internet for instant download and review, making the process of finding great poetry for such an important occasion much easier.

If you know you want to feature a funeral poem in a memorial, don't be dissuaded by your lack of expertise in poetry. Don't let the stressful and limited schedule of the days preceding a survey stand in your way, either. You can find the right words.

I offer my sincerest condolences for your loss and wish you the best as you prepare a meaningful memorial for your loved one.

Thomas Alan Lampsen maintains Funeral Poems and Eulogies, where you can find wonderful funeral poems and more assistance.

You can find the right words. Visit Thomas' website for free funeral poems and resources to help you create a perfect memorial.


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