I enjoy writing. It helps me clarify my thoughts. Every sculpture I create is really a story I find irresistible that finds expression in stone.

I usually have a lot of excess brain space when I am sanding and finishing a stone sculpture so I begin to write the blog for that piece in my mind. Having done quite a bit of research for each sculpture, I start by riffing on ideas.

I define the most important aspect of the creation process. Sometimes it is the story of the animal. Sometimes it is an experience I had with a particular individual. Often it is the story of the making of the sculpture. Every picture is worth at least a thousand words.

Lastest Entry

Bunny Whirl


“Bunny Whirl” is a stone sculpture inspired by the wild bunny that lives in our yard. How can this possibly be an event to inspire and sustain the time-consuming and difficult creation of a stone sculpture? Simple. We live on a busy street corner across from a middle school, and it is a small miracle that a wild bunny chose to live in our yard and has survived for several generations of bunnies.

Last fall I installed an inexpensive low wire fence around our yard to deter children and dogs, and specifically to increase the yard’s attractiveness to bunnies. We had several bunny sightings, but no resident bunnies until the fence went up.

A Revelation

One morning I was enjoying my breakfast when a local bunny discovered our new fence and hopped through the bunny-permeable wire. He stopped immediately, turned around, and looked at the fence. He then hopped back through the fence, spun around and hopped again through it and into the yard. This time he leapt in the air, spun around, and dashed back through the fence. Then he whirled again and hopped through into the yard.

Bunny Whirl, stone sculptur by Ellen Woodbury, View 2
Bunny Whirl, back view.  Photo by Mel Schockner.

Wow. The bunny invented a spontaneous game with our fence. I was thunderstruck with charm and dying of cuteness! It never occurred to me that bunnies might invent games. I have lived in other houses with other wild bunnies in the yard. I have observed their daily activities but never seen the invention of a bunny game. That event is worthy of a sculpture.

The Bunny Endures

Gamester Bunny lived under our front porch all winter long eating birdseed and the pre-winter growth of my hollyhocks. This spring we learned that our bunny was female when she brought 2 of the tiniest bunnies I have ever seen out from under the porch.

The babies grew a bit bigger, and Gamester Bunny took one of them and moved away, leaving one baby behind to live under the porch. In early summer that bunny, now named Zippy, brought a baby bunny out from under the porch. Zippy moved out and Itty-Bitty Bunny now lives in the family manse. We see Zippy periodically when she comes over for dinner. We discovered another bunny lair under the back patio, so Zippy stays over when she pleases.

Brown Alabaster

This particular Brown Alabaster is a new stone for me. I rarely carve alabaster because it is very soft. This block has outrageous color that I could not resist. Whenever I see a stone that looks edible, I simply must have it.

This stone was as difficult to carve as it is beautiful. The block is basically one half light colors and one half dark colors. The light colors have an abundance of porosities, called vugs, which are difficult and untrustworthy to carve. Some of the light layers are very hard and some are very soft with really hard crystals in them. Some of the layers are mostly vugs. The dark half of the stone is super hard with a few layers of super soft stone intermixed.

Due to the inconsistencies in the stone, the carving is glue-as-you-go. This means the stone must be bathed in low viscosity super glue after every carving session in an effort to help keep the stone in one piece. It is unknowable if these efforts are either helpful or necessary. The only way to answer that question is to not glue—in which case the stone might fall apart.

The finishing was also an adventure as I discovered that the very soft layers of stone with very hard crystals ripped my sand paper. The whole process took more patience than I thought I had. I reached a point where I was finding new characteristics of this stone every time I tried my regular processes. One must work for great color.

A Tenuous Nature

I understand that our bunnies live a tenuous existence on our corner. Wild bunnies do not have a very long lifespan, and one day I may find one squished in the road. I know I am not emotionally prepared for that event. Many aspects of our lives are becoming more and more tenuous. I find comfort in whirling bunnies.    

Excerpts of Other Recent Entries

“When Horses Fly” is a stone sculpture homage to taking risks, metaphoric leaps into the unknown—leaps of choice, leaps of necessity, leaps of joy, leaps of faith. Inspiration My awesome friends who ride horses initially inspired my idea for this jumping horse. We began riding together in the 1980’s, taking riding lessons at the LA Equestrian Center. We rode for many years together, and remain close friends after 30 years. Our bonds with horses and each other run deep. We . . .

Inspiration The Arctic fascinates me. I discovered the Arctic Tern while researching polar bears for my stone sculpture “Dancing on Thin Ice”. (The Arctic Fox was also a discovery during my polar bear research; the fox took form in stone as “Arctic Wind”.) I was first struck by the elegant graphic simplicity of the Arctic Tern. White body, black head, and bright red beak and feet quickly took shape in my imagination—three stones I adore to carve and a tricky . . .

Inspiration “Arctic Wind” is a stone sculpture inspired by the “winter whites” of the Arctic Fox, and by the way the wind sculpts snow. It is another manifestation of my fascination with the animals of winter. I love snow, and am awestruck by the soft curves and sharp edges of windswept drifts. Carving white marble reminds me so much of snow—sparkling crystal and the play of light on white forms remind me of skiing, my favorite winter activity. I show . . .

Inspiration “Dancing On Thin Ice” is my first stone sculpture of a bear, any bear. There are an abundance of sculptures of bears, so I thought I didn’t need to create another. I was wrong—I love polar bears, and I hate what is happening to them, and to their Arctic habitat. I have the need to speak for them, and ultimately for us, through my art.       Fun Polar Bear Facts I discovered lots of fun facts about polar bears through . . .

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