My introduction to marble carving was something of a happy accident. A long-time sculptor friend, Marilyn Miller, invited me to join her group of New York sculptors on a trip to Carrara, Italy. Although I went to art school and have always loved sculpture, I had an exciting and demanding job as an Industrial Designer and was not making time for my own art. The trip turned out to be a pivotal experience; by the end of our three weeks in Italy I was hooked.

The journey took me to a studio inside a marble factory where our instructor Pazzi de Peuter expertly took us through the entire process: helping us choose a stone, setting us up with the proper carving tools (mostly pneumatic air hammers and grinders) and safety equipment, and then letting us dive into it. We learned about types of chisels, grinding and polishing stones, texturing and finishing etc. but it was mostly hands-on. It was a revelation to see how the stone gives way to your will with the application of the secret sauce we became privy to. We were working in one of the finest marbles available, Bianco Carrara Statuario, which is dense, pure white and without troublesome impurities or grain.


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In the factory studio we could watch large blocks of marble being sawn in two and master carvers translating full-scale plaster models into marble sculptures using pointing devices.

On a private tour of the quarry where Michelangelo got his stone, we saw ten-ton marble blocks drilled, wire cut and edged out of the snow white mountainside.

We visited several sculpture studios in Carrara and Pietrasanta, meeting the artists and seeing how they work. Some of the work was traditional and figurative, but much of it was inspiringly contemporary and abstract.

It’s hard to imagine how I could have gotten a better start.


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