Monday, 25 June 2012

"The marble not yet carved....

...can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has" - Michelangelo.

Last week I went to visit the studio of one of our artists, Paul Vanstone, following delivery of one of his pieces to a client to see his range of available work and feel utterly emasculated by my choice of career.  Where I merely curate artwork he carves exquisite pieces out of enormous slabs of solid stone.  I derive some solace in the knowledge that, having made some pretty average FIMO models for my nieces, I'm fairly sure my career in marble carving would have ended in bankruptcy.

 Marble need not be pure, white and virginal - deep burgundies or rich greens may be better suited to certain spaces.


Paul gathers such stone from all over the world; rajasthan marble, iranian onyx, italian marble from quarries in Carrera.  Enormous sections lie stacked higher than head height, roughly drawn chalk outlines hint at the forms he sees hidden in the seams.  Next to them stand roughly hewn shapes, a first pass at uncovering the latent forms.

A large section of Italian marble ready to be worked

Paul work is hugely varied, however a large number of his pieces are abstract figurative forms or cloth folds.  Both are hugely tactile and skirt the line between classical and contemporary.  The folds nod at busts wearing Roman togas, the layering and scale however seem strikingly modern. 

The figurative works are shaped from a range of stones, onyx, marble, vivid and vibrant colours through to muted and serene natural tones of green and black.  Smooth stone is warm to the touch and almost 'soft', I find that the sinuous shapes Paul loves demand to be stroked which, especially in the case of the female figurative pieces, gives the work a subtle sensuality.

The bollard on the far left of the image below came from a 50 year-old seaside breakwater, giving a heft and aged look that one could not replicate with modern materials.  Innovative, sustainable, love it.

Paul gathers stone from all over the glove to sculpt or to use as interesting and varied plinths.  Much of his stone comes from beautiful Italian quarries, if our clients so choose he will take them for a day trip out to Carrera to go and see where the marble originates from, lets them select a specific piece and then creates a unique and bespoke artwork.  If you would like to know more about this service then drop us an email at



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