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Bridget Whitehead

My art is a natural progression from a childhood interest in rocks and beach combing, through a career as a geologist, to working stone as a sculptor. I grew up in Cheshire, UK, on the boundary of the lush Cheshire plains and the rugged Pennines of millstone grit and drystone walls.

I like to work with natural stone and with stone like materials to make sculpture that is at home either indoors or outside. As a migrant to Australia I am exercised by the question of where is home. The use of stone in my work connects me to my home and my origins.

I am interested in stone as a sculptural medium. The inherent material properties are a result of the conditions under which the stone was formed and to which it has been subjected since formation. In the same way that geology influences the landscape, the rock type surely influences sculpture made from stone.

I have a degrees in Geology and Environmental and Engineering Geology; my art training has been an informal assemblage of workshops and courses. I am a member of The Sculptors Society.



Limestone and marble have essentially the same composition but are very different as sculptural materials. Looking at the formation of these two materials helps us to understand their differing performance. Limestone is a sedimentary rock, formed of shell, bone and coral fragments and lime grains that have been cemented together. It varies considerably in material properties depending on the origin and age. It is typically creamy to grey in colour with dull surfaces. It may be uniform in texture or chock full of fossils; it may be soft enough to cut with a knife or so hard that a hammer and chisel are needed to break it.

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to heat and pressure. During this metamorphic process the mineral calcite which forms all of the shell and lime fragments becomes crystalline. The original structure of any fossils is lost as the rock is heated and squeezed and the crystals of calcite grow into an interlocking matrix. Impurities in the original limestone will affect the colour and may result in interesting veins of colour through the marble.

It is the crystalline nature of marble that makes it such a marvellous sculptural medium. The stone needs to be worked with sharp chisels and rasps but the surface can be polished to a silky lustre. The capacity of calcite to reflect light both from the surface of a crystal and from planes within the crystal gives a particular life to a marble sculpture.


Please email me if you are interested any of my sculptures 

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