renaissance in stone

if ever there has been a time for a renaissance in stone, it is now. mother earth is changing, people are changing, and our entire world is responding. it is now i find myself reflecting ever more on the permanence of stone art. much of what we know about ancient human civilisations has come from stone art, masonry, petroglyphs, sculpture, and ancient writings carved in stone. the earth moves and changes and buries the pieces of our lives, whether slowly over great swaths of time, or in swift, fell swoops, as in the geological release of energies in the form of earthquakes, volcanos, and tsunamis. stone frequently survives and maintain its qualities and shapes, often over many thousands of years.

i believe there is great value in the appreciation and contemplation of stones, rocks, crystals and gems. in our rapidly changing technological world, i want to see more people have the opportunity to experience the appreciation of stone art. there are psychological and emotional benefits that come with having to slow down in time and in the thought experience. there are pure, hard, cool, smooth, subtle, vibrant and rugged natural qualities in a stone. these can be a soothing qualities to contemplate in our hectic, frantic, virtual, fast paced world. stone is actual reality, nothing virtual about it. the time has come for more art collectors and investors to choose to invest in the value of permanence, the value of art made from nature’s matter in its purest form.

i’m working on a new piece.  it is a compact piece of onyx. it is mostly white-ish with a translucent quality and the color deepens in places to a lovely pale peach. in the beginning, it looked similar to this, in size, general shape and color:

i purchased the pieces of onyx from another stone carver, who has an enviable collection of rocks and finished rock sculptures. i spent a good deal of the afternoon choosing from the different types of rocks and stones and shapes and sizes. this is my first time carving onyx. i was surprised it was so light in color, but when i saw how beautiful the light looked coming through the stone, i could not resist its calling. twice. i chose two pieces of onyx. 

i like to approach a chunk of stone that i am going to sculpt as if it is a conscious entity, with its own weight, particular shape and voice. i like to think it speaks to me, although it is rarely with words. the first piece of onyx that i felt drawn to carve had a more diamond or teardrop shape than that of the example above, and was slightly smaller. i saw, or heard, the angel right away. i was working on the stone one day for maybe an hour when my four-year old son came out and looked at me and the stone. ‘mommy’, he said, ‘you’re carving an angel’…and i felt very pleased, that he could see the angel too.

wings above the angel

after a short time of working and looking at the stone and getting a sense of where the angel was, (because i didn’t have a visual translation yet for my experience of the angel) i saw a heart, a valentine’s heart, not an anatomical heart, yet, 3D–perfect, right there in the side. i worked it just a little, and on both sides of the rock took off the loose, broken or dirty bits of stone. eventually the angels wings began to show followed by the appearance of the head and arms as well.

the first heart

i have been using several different chisels, two points, a rake, a small power tool, a large file, and a couple of paint brushes to sweep away stone pieces and dust, as pictured in the beginning. as i worked, another large heart began to emerge from the other side, along with another angelic figure wrapping the large heart. it now takes the working title, angelheart.

large heart and angel


i have shared my process thus far in the creation of a stone sculpture. it is a bit like falling in love. i will savor the time spent chiseling, defining, refining and polishing this piece from where it is now. in this relationship, the more work i put into it the more i get to know its form and beauty, until it is finished. there is already so much here, and yet it is really just the rough, a sketch of the finished expression. i intend to document the evolution of this work of art. i will check in with photos as the piece becomes more defined.


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