Mike Leckie, like many sculptors, begins the process of carving marble by first creating a rough draft of the piece in wax or clay, called a maquette. Once the maquette is created the sculptor will sketch a grid on the marble itself, a process called ‘pointing.’ By sketching out the grid on the marble the sculptor knows where to remove the stone to form the basic shape
The next step is to remove the larger chunks of stone using either a mallet and chisel combination or a mason’s axe. This step requires as much care and consideration as fine detail work, because stonework is an art of elimination — stone cannot be put back once it has been removed. Afterwards, the sculptor carves the details of the piece. This involves using various picks, points and punches, as well as power tools, such as drills and Dremels to help them shape the details of their piece.
After the sculptor is satisfied with their work, he begins the process of sanding and polishing. Some marble sculptures are left unsanded, either totally or in parts, depending on the desired texture. Typically a sculptor spends a great deal of time on this step to attain the perfect polish. One of the iconic attributes of marble is that sanding and polishing brings out the coloration of the stone, often revealing the natural patterns resulting from different minerals being pressed together over time.