Michaelangelo has been quoted as saying:
"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."
More than any other quote, I think this gives us an understanding of the mentality of a sculptor.
In another instance he said:
"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."
In the following video, we see a little of that approach by remer Paolo Brandolisio, as he works to free the forcola from the block of wood she's trapped in.
If you aren't able to see the video above, please visit the following link and then come back.
Now if you're not a gondola fanatic, or have little interest in the art of forcola carving, this may not be the most amazing video clip, but I sat in awe as Paolo sliced piece after piece of wood from the block.
He doesn't present a completed piece by the end of the clip, but in five and a half minutes he brings it to a point where you can see the familiar shape.
With some time and technique (and the right hand tools), Paolo will certainly finish the task and produce a work of art that can also serve as rowing hardware.
In the video, he begins with a pencil-traced pattern, but in a short time Paolo falls back on his instinct and cuts freehand - something you'd expect to see a true artist do.
He does it with such ease, it reminds me a bit of another Michaelangelo quote:
"Carving is easy, you just go down to the skin and stop."