Just thinking out loud...
Throughout my life I had the feeling that I'd like to carve something, somehow, but I didn't have any idea what medium I'd work in or what I would make.
One day in 2004, I attended a one-hour Introduction to Stone Carving workshop in Martin's River, Nova Scotia, near my home. The wise instructor said: "If you stand in front of a stone long enough with a chisel and a hammer in your hands, something will happen."
Something happened, all right.
I was hooked on stone carving from the very moment I applied the point of the chisel to the stone and tapped it with the hammer.
I had found my medium.
The stone was the message.
In the years since then, I've been on a journey of discovery - always discovery - about the stone, or the technique, or the tools. Or me.
The images I've made thus far are mostly of recognizable subjects with perhaps a little twist to them, just for fun. Don't you like to have fun? A fiddle with a pumpkin stem in lieu of the neck is fun, and its vine with fruit of musical notes is just whimsy. I was thinking of a dear friend who was dangerously ill while I was making it. Should I have made a serious thing in her honour? Her sense of humour is what I wanted to work into the stone, not her suffering.
Making things of stone is very cool. I love removing "excess" material from a block of stone to uncover things, objects, ideas, concepts, images and representations.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Not that perfection is my goal (beauty is) but sometimes I feel I've come close to it. In stone carving, one may leave too much material not taken away. This is not laziness but a judgement call at the intersection of vision and courage. Stone is a strong material until it isn't...a cracked sculpture is a great teacher, however.
I love thinking of the potential in a rock - the potential of what it could look like, but beyond that, how it will make me or others feel when we look at it. I enjoy the unexpectedness of books and violins and flowering trumpets and simple sentinels realized from stone.
People often express their interest in trying stone sculpture. I encourage everyone who is stone-curious to introduce themselves to stones. If there's a workshop offered near you, you should go.
The stone's the thing.
My thoughts while I'm carving are either irrelevant to the carving or visible in the resultant piece of stone. [For some of my 'woo-woo' thinking, read here.] What matters is what you think or feel when you see my carvings, and whether you find yourself thinking you'd like to have one of them around to look at every day...to touch, maybe to hold down some corner of your life to keep it from blowing away...
If you acquire a small or large carving realized from my imagination, that will make us both happy.
You may sometimes see some of my work at a gallery listed on the Links page.
Or talk to me about what you would like to see in stone.
Do come back here every now and then. New things I make may appeal to you.
PS: As far as I know, I coined the term "stoneist". There are other good descriptors too - carver, sculptor, stone-cutter - but they may not always apply to me. So I made up this new word, which I like because it's about the medium I use rather than about me (artist, artisan, crafts-person) or the end product (art, craft).
PPS: "Yes, but is it art?" Here's what I think about that: a stoneist must be good at her craft - assessing the stone, choosing the tools, removing this and leaving that, etc. The same can be said about musicians, painters, potters, cooks and poets. The concept may start as a simple doodle. The end result might be art. Or it might just serve to hold open a door, which is okay if that's what you want it for. The ultimate owner will be the judge.
Art collectors love to say that the art doesn't have to match the furniture, to which I add, "Unless you want it to." I read an article about someone who chose his furniture to match a painting. So there.
The simple stoneist is delighted when someone loves a carving enough to want to take it home. Then she begins the process of discovering what's inside the next stone.