July 16, 2013
by Anna Huntington, community arts coordinator for The Sculpture Project
AH: How has the transition been to Rapid City?
MN: "The beginning of my journey came when I left the Bay Area and traveled to Rapid City through the different landscapes and climates. It was a nice preparation for this project, traveling through Yellowstone, visiting Devil’s Tower and then arriving here to the very green Black Hills. Driving through all of the beautiful areas, rather than flying, helped me make the transition.
"I had the chance to go and camp in the Badlands one night before I began working. It was such a surprise to see the same landscape look so different than it had when I saw it last August. I saw so many greens and many wildflowers. I saw and understood a different feature of the Badlands, a kind of tenderness of the land."
AH: What’s it like working in Main Street Square?
MN: "The energy of the Square is pretty peaceful. It’s nice that people stop by and chat. They are interested in my work and very positive. They’re also encouraging and supportive. Many people, including a lot of children, give me thumbs up signs through the viewing windows!"
AH: How is the project going so far?
MN: "Since we started working we found that the stone is a very nice quality. Granite is within the category of hard stone, but this type is not extremely hard. It holds edges and yet is easier to carve with hand tools than, say, the hardest black granite or even some grey granite. The pegmatite penetrations into the block can present a challenge, but otherwise it is a very good material to work with.
I had a small sample of the stone to work with before I started the project, but it was too small to use my hammer and points with and I could use only a small pneumatic hammer. So really it wasn’t until I started carving here in the Square that I had a sense of how the granite would respond."
AH: You must be happy to have Martin Rickert here assisting you?
MN: "I am. He’s good company and we also learn from each other. It's also great to be working with Rausch Granite. They are helping with some honing and sandblasting on the exterior of the stones."