Thursday, July 25, 2013

Castelvecchio Italy Stone Carving Symposium

I am writing to you from Castelvecchio di Pescia, in northern Tuscany.  This is my first real stone carving symposium.  Many exist around the world.   We have seven sculptors here from the following countries:  Bulgaria, Germany, Japan, The Slovak Republic, Spain, Thailand, and USA.  The symposium is a way for a place to gain a sculpture garden for perhaps less money than if they outright bought sculpture suitable for outdoors.  What happens is that an organizer works with his community.  They supply the stone, the transport of such, the carving sites, usually air compressors, with hoses, electricity, and tables, etc. for the creation of the art.  Artists are given their own working space, although usually they are together on one site.  Often it is a place in which tourists and locals alike can watch the progress of the sculptures being created. 

Artists are also given places to sleep and freshen up, as well as provided all meals.  When possible, the community also gives artists a stipend to cover travel expenses and money with which to live and pay bills.  In any event, during the event, artists are taken care of and allowed to do what we do best.  We are often happy because it is fun to work in proximity to other artists and art lovers.  And we get to travel to new places! 

You may remember my friend and street painting colleague Kumiko Suzuki from my book "My Life as a Street Painter in Florence, Italy."  She is also a sculptor of stone.  She and  I came by train from Florence to Pescia and were greeted by Rita and Maurizio, who drove us to Castelvecchio.  Yesterday, the sculptors were driven up into some nearby mountains in the same valley, near a town called Vellano.  There at the quarry, we chose our desired stones to carve.  We will be working with "Pietra Serena," a stone native to these parts.  It is grey, with a light brown closer to the surface, but is sometimes confused with concrete.  You may see it in most of the construction in Tuscany, including Firenze (Florence).

Well, the wonderful sons of some of our hosts set me up with this laptop so that I could work on this blog writing while my stone was being delivered from the cave (Italian for "quarry").  My stone is in place at my work site now... I must go.  The last day of the symposium is 3 August... come on over if you can!