Pietrasanta day 6

Pietrasanta day 6

Pietrasanta day 6

Today is a blur, I am not sleeping well, nothing to do with last nights cocktail!

Mosquitos seem to like me for their midnight feast, my legs are swollen for evidence.

It does not stop me in my track to push on with the carving, I am sure several espressos will pick me up.

I am removing everything that is not sphere, arriving close to where I want to be. Work is slow at this point as I am now working freely without measurements, using touch and feeling. I like working like this…new ideas bubble up, ideas that have no words yet.

carving after 48h

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Pietrasanta day 5

Pietrasanta day 5

Pietrasanta day 5

Starting with a walk up the hill to the walls of the ‘fort’, from here the view is stunning, I am waiting for the sun to ‘lick’ the horizon in a secret and yet noticeable way when looking away for some minutes..I am fascinated by this..when do we notice change? How fast does it has to be? How much awareness do we have to develop to follow the daily movement of the planets and stars around us? How can it be incoperated in artwork this never-ending change that holds us and gives us the feeling of being safe?

sunrise 1 over Pietrasanta

Through the night I had ideas for my carving, I want it to be a simple sketch a first impression and trying out..a form that let’s light through, a form that I can take back home in my rucksack and the flight weight restrictions.

I came up with  the design of two caps of a sphere slightly moving away from each other.

plasticine model for carving

Knowing that the next few days will be full of stone dust and noise, looking forward to it.

me in funny goggles     Barsanti studio, backdropBarsanti studio

In the workshop, Christian locates a small piece of marble, perfect for my idea.

I know that there is a fast way to carve a sphere and Christian knows the method of it.

No time to find a form I am amazed how fast I arrive at the final form.

Most of the work is done in one day, have a look what I did today.

cube to ovalfinding the diameteroval to spheres 1

taking measurementsoval to spheres 2

The atmosphere in the workshop is focused and relaxed, all of us are here to make shapes in one form or another.

The mix of people and their reasons to be here are multitude…

Christian who has been working here and as well as working on his own commissions facilitating learning for many years.

One of his students is working on a huge carving that needs lifting and relocating with a forklift on a regular basis.carving waiting for forklift

Andrea, the artisano, carving a new carving almost every day, a small sketch on the side of his easel reminds him where to carve.

Andrea's work from a sketch pinned next to the reliefAndrea at workAndrea's work from a sketch pinned next to the reliefAnnette, Simone and Angelika behind Andrea's carving of today

Simone, german sculptor and installation artist who has her own workshop here across the yard helps one of the students to make a plaster cast of her model.

Annette and Johannes from Germany are young stone masons here for their second time through a German initiative to fund the furthering craft skills.

A visit to the nearby cafe is undertaken to refuel with espresso:-).

working in the workshop

In the evening I met with Colomba and Simone…talking about Colomba’s projects and book launch in Florence tomorrow. Both encourage me to visit Florence, it sounds like an amazing place and I feel it might have to wait till my next visit as I want to complete my carving more than anything for now.

after a days work with Simone and Colomba








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Pietrasanta day 4

Pietrasanta day 4

10th September, Pietrasanta

I am staying in Pietrasanta, life here starts to feel a bit more familiar, the owners of the ‘Caffe al Teatro’ know which coffee I want, the woman in the bakery recognises me, and the smell of freshly baked bread at 4.30am woke me up before now.

un fornaiocaffe del teatropiazza del duomo

Sitting at the ‘Piazza del Duomo’ the wifi is good, writing, reflecting, sending pictures out on Instagram…starting to draw ideas for a carving.

first drawings for marble carving

It is warm, history of hundreds of years of the sculpting and carving stone surrounds me. I feel at home.

Back in my flat I am playing with pieces of marble, trying to photograph the shifting of light but experience difficulty with the tripod and my time-lapse is not successful.

marble pepples from Seravezza 1marble pepples from Seravezza 1

There are several things that come into my mind here and I would like to use this in some small way in the carving I am going to make.

-On Saturday when visiting the studio I noticed a circular cut through a stone, a linear shadow stretching along into it. I thought about how this linear shadow will change in due course on this sunny day.

circular cut into stone

-The weight and density of marble is all around this place, I would like to tip this small carving slightly off balance, with a leaver? a counter weight?…or by natural occurrence? The latter would be inspired by Giuseppe Penone 1968, ‘pietra, corda, albero, sole/ pietra, corda, albero, pioggia’

Giuseppe Penone 1968, text explaining pietra, corda, albero, sole: pietra, corda, albero, pioggiaGiuseppe Penone 1968, drawing for pietra, corda, albero, sole: pietra, corda, albero, pioggiaGiuseppe Penone 1968, pietra, corda, albero, sole: pietra, corda, albero, pioggia (resting)Giuseppe Penone 1968, text explaining pietra, corda, albero, sole: pietra, corda, albero, pioggia (raised)

I am venturing out to visit the library and the Museo dei Bozzetti http://www.museodeibozzetti.it/

full of models for classical and abstract sculptures.

I feel drawn to the work of Kan Yasuda https://youtu.be/qkgs6IeRris

This japanese sculptor lives and works in Pietrasanta.

The minimal form of ‘Shyosei’ captures my attention with the soft shadow on the plinth created through an undercut on the baseline of this two part sculpture.

Kan Yasuda ‘Shyosei’

This work in progress photographed in it’s overexposed way (photo taken in the Museo Dei Bozzetti)  represents well how I feel about the intense affinity of marble with light.

marble carving in progress






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Pietrasanta day 3

Pietrasanta day 3

9th September, Seravezza

Today I took myself on a bike to Seravezza, a town not far from Pietrasanta towards the Apuan Alps. I am looking up at these mountains and think what efforts Michaelangelo must have undergone to shift marble, it is sheer unbelievable!! Being a keen boulder shifter myself knowing how much hard work it is with all the modern technology available, it takes my breath away to think what it must have been like to move massive blocks of marble in the 16th century.

Sculpture in the centre of SeravezzaApuan alps, Seravezzadisused stoneyard between Pietrasanta and Seravezzastone yard between Pietrasanta and Seravezza

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Pietrasanta day 2

Pietrasanta day 2

8th September, Pietrasanta

Cooperativa workshop, Pietrasanta

On Saturday I made sense of my visit when I met Christian Lange sculptor and artisan on the same site as the Stagetti Marble Studio.


Christian and I made contact before my arrival and figured that we grew up some villages away from each other in the mountains of the Rhön/ Germany. He worked for over 20 years for world renowned sculptors here in Pietrasanta and as well as working on commissions he teaches stone carving here in Pietrasanta, check it out!!


Angels in Christian Lange's workshop

The workshops on this site keep the ancient tradition and skill of stonemasonry alive, the carvings are of figurative nature often religious but time is not standing still as CNC cutting robots producing fascinating work of the here and now, reflecting on the robotic process.

The Cooperativa has many workshops, a foundary and galerias, visited by the rich clients and on the other spectrum intrigued arty ones like myself.

Christian invited me to work in his workshop whilst I am here…

now…my visit makes even more sense.

I helped myself to a little piece of marble out of the skip and skipped back to the flat to start working.

Marble found in skip

I was given advise that if I wonder through town on a Saturday evening I can be sure to bump into a PV (with generous spread to safe myself from cooking supper).

I ventured through the streets to find not one but several PV’s..work that touched me was by Sian Smith


Everything is lively till midnight, galleries are open, concerts fill the air with sounds, I ended up going to a poetry reading only understanding…gli uomini/ la donna/ feminista…taking in the atmosphere, body language and enjoyment of the crowd understanding every word.

I spent the evening with..

Columba a Italian photographer (details to follow)

Simone Eissreich  eissrich.com

Neil Ferber neilferber.co.uk

Midnight arrived when I went home filled with art, history and the friendliness of strangers.

Underneath all this I am of course thinking about my work and what to make whilst in Christians workshop for most of next week. Back in the UK I thought of continuing my letter carving installation project whilst here. Currently my drawings are steering towards form, light and gravity.

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Pietrasanta day 1

Pietrasanta day 1

Bristol Airport

On my way..6am departure lounge Bristol airport..sleepy faces, disorientated, vulnerable softness, meets hardcore consumerism, brightly lit shops, glitzy black floors, long queues in Superdrug and Starbucks, we are told what to do in the most sneaky and blunt way that seems harsh at any time but especially at this time of day…bright sunlight as I am walking to the Gate…shadows often wake me up music in one ear, keeping myself to myself…every now and then a face fascinates me and I can’t help but stare…at those sleepy faces.



The first moments of arrival feel like stale bread..a different country..I barely speak a word of Italian and shy to ask if people speak English, the atmosphere of this little town breaths tourism, has churches at every corner and a villa on a hill near by…will explore tomorrow.

Why did I come here? I guess to experience some history of stone carving and this can certainly be seen round every corner..courtyards open up to marble carving workshops, every little street has several ‘galerias’ selling accessible work..a living is made.

I am in search for something quite different and I guess for this I need to take myself away from the mainstream.




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