Like flour dusting a bakery floor, a fine layer of plaster dust overlays nearly every surface of the otherwise clean Stone Yard studio. An assortment of metal tools lay on a table; they are 30-year old Italian sculpting tools and they belong to Stone Yard's master sculptor. A black-and-white photo is taped to the wall; it shows what looks like a layer of sand dunes in profile, shadows casting a gradient of color and texture. "Mitch brought me this photo of a rock formation and asked me to sculpt it," our sculptor says, when asked about it. "A few days ago, he brought me another photo and I said, 'Is this papier-mâché?' But when he turned it around, it was the same photo of the rock! It's amazing how something can take on a totally different texture depending on perspective."
Meet Our Master Sculptor
Our sculptor started his artistic life as a painter, but when an art instructor saw him painting dimensionally, he told him he should also try sculpting. During his career, he has sculpted everything from delicately carved animal figurines to technically and aesthetically precise prosthetic limbs. But he especially loves working on intricate details and surprising shapes, like those found in Stone Yard's one-of-a-kind designs.
Designer and Sculptor Collaborate
Through the years, our sculptor has been involved in every part of Stone Yard's design process, from concepting to hand finishing. However, his main role is concepting new designs and creating them in the 3-dimensional space. This involves collaborating with Stone Yard's chief designer, Mitch Brean. "That's when the best things happen," he says of his creative meeting of the minds with Mitch. But just how do designer and sculptor dream up the unique designs that are Stone Yard's trademark? Well, it starts with a simple idea.
Coming Up with Bold New Textures
Often it’s a sketch or photo from Mitch, like the photo of the rock formation. Sometimes it's finely detailed, and sometimes it's more of a vague outline. At times, it begins with our sculptor riffing on a piece of plaster, trying out new patterns to add to the line of unique textures that Stone Yard is known for. (He tells me about a recent exercise that turned into something unexpected: "It was only supposed to be a little study sample of concave triangles placed side by side. It wasn't until I stepped back for a break that the stars appeared.")
Once the groundwork of the idea is laid, designer and sculptor build from there. It is this exchange of inspiration and experimenting with new shapes and textures that creates the unparalleled detail of each Stone Yard piece.
Carving and Refining the Details
Using a mix of hand and electric tools, our master sculptor shapes each piece to match the final vision. When asked what his "sculpting rules" are as he works, he responds, "There are no rules, really. But from a technical and functional perspective, the pieces have to be crafted to last for years. This means making every support sturdy, every sharp edge smoothed." Check out the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at our master sculptor at work.
Bringing it All Together in a Unique Design
From original concept to hand-painted finish, Stone Yard furnishings are truly unique statement pieces, with each piece both thoughtfully and expertly crafted by artisans. What statement do you wish to make in your space? Why not consult our expert designers and craftsman for your next custom project?