Installing Marble Sculptures, Part III

Reposted from 2006

How on earth are you going to get another two-and-a-half-ton marble sculpture into the church?

After an incredible trip to Italy…

Umberto Antognazzi carving St. Joseph in Pietrasanta.

…a very long awaited day has finally come! St. Joseph was installed at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Parish on May 24th, just in time for Pentecost. Andrew Logan of Canal Street Studios and his assistant, Katie, were great. They picked up the marble sculpture and plaster carver’s model from the US Customs inspection office in New York, trucked it down to Potomac, placed the stone and finished the job by dinner time. These big events tend to build in your mind and then they happen. Just like that, they happen on an ordinary day. A Thursday, for example.

I haven’t been feeling well lately. Mostly likely a wicked combination of stress and allergies with a dose a headache on top. I didn’t leave the house yesterday until much later than I had planned. I felt awful and was anxious about the day.

When I arrived, Andrew Logan and his assistant Katie were already there. They had de-crated St. Joseph and lowered him onto a pallet where they could get a forklift beneath him.

Loading the sculpture on the Canal Street Studios truck.

Lifting

Once the forks where in place, Andrew drove him over to the niche and slowly lifted and lowered. A little to the left, back just a pinch. Stop, reassess. The forklift couldn’t quite hold all that weight, so in addition to the 600 pounds of bagged concrete Andrew added to the back, two mainenance men jumped on the back of the lift to balance out the weight.

St. Joseph on the fork lift.

And Just Like That

Every step was carefully measured, but since Andrew had already worked out many of the problems with the installation of the Blessed Virgin, this one was much more straight-forward. They were done before the end of the day. Just like that, the long-awaited sculpture was in place. No pomp or drama. Just another sunny Thursday. Just like that.

Andrew Logan and me in front of St. Joseph at Our Lady of Mercy.

Finishing Touches

Several days later, I had to return to file off the marble blocks between each finger. The carvers left them on to ensure the figures would not break during shipping. I pulled up a ladder and a file and went to work on the last finishing touches.

A Velvet Drape Completes the Niche

St. Joseph, the Carpenter at Our Lady of Mercy, Potomac, Maryland

Sarah

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