When I was a mountain climber, I thought I knew about risk; taking risk and weighing reward. Now I realize that I probably never climbed anything that I wasn’t fairly assured that I could get on top of. I planned a strategy, and followed examples of success. A route, a season, equipment, partners. Sculpting isn’t like that. There is no guidebook. When you’re standing before a block of wood, chainsaw in your hand, there is just you, and irreversible consequences. When climbing you may be at risk of your life, but Sculpting makes risk of your intelligence and your ability to control at your will, the material and the idea. If you mess up, it’s not a physical limitation, but the limits of skill, experience, courage, imagination – your artistic identity – that you are up against. I have less courage for the destruction of Self than of injury or death.
One beauty of climbing is that when you are standing at the bottom of the mountain, you have in your possession everything required to summit. The outcome is unknowable, you only know that you can make an attempt. And in Sculpting it’s the same. You have everything required to create the work you are imagining. How often in life can you say that? That you are ready to begin, to embark, and strive? This means of course, you must have also accepted the possibility of failure.