Here is a perfect example of what happens when the sculptor hits a place in the crystalline structure of a stone that fractures a piece off completely and so badly mars the design that there is no choice but to discontinue. Having been discarded, this interesting face found a place to live in the Allen’s garden until it was appreciated for what it illustrated and was brought inside to preserve it.
The process of carving can be seen here. Using the natural wave-worn surface of the stone where it suggested hair, Allen has left that outer shell undisturbed as he undercut it at the top of the forehead to delineate the hair from the face. He chiseled away the front and sides to reveal the basic square shape of the face with the hollows of the cheeks under high cheekbones, a softly rounded chin and full lips. He then began to cut deeper into the sockets of the eyes. He had begun to work on the details of the eye on the left and the shape of the nose when the stone fractured across the bridge of the nose. In the co-creation of a carving, the stone and the sculptor talk to each other. In this case, the stone had to say stop; too much had broken to redesign it or to continue. The inspiration for the face may well have been Gauguin. The soft fullness at the mouth and the wide nostrils suggest his Tahitian woman carved in wood at the Museé D’Orsay.