The Summer of Stone

Andrew Wilson Smith ( is a sculptor who lives in Scranton, PA and works out of a huge walkout basement room at the boy’s boarding school where he also teaches part-time. His work ranges from architectural ornament to narrative sculpture, and he works in a variety of materials. For the months of July and August, he’ll be teaching me stone carving while I work in his studio.

View of St. Gregory’s from Across the Valley

Several years ago, I saw a picture of Andrew in a newsletter from Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma. He was carving the twelve apostles on the lintel above the entrance to the monastery church. It looked like the ideal job. Well, it looked hot and dusty, but it looked like a cool job.

Andrew showed up in New York City this past winter as a speaker at a lecture series I was attending. I asked him where I could learn stone carving. Turns out, his studio is a good place to do that.

So, here’s my first project. It’s a direct stone carving which means that I don’t start with a model. I just draw directly on the stone and make carving decisions as I go along.

The design is a rosette motif copied from an original carved by Andrew.

Here is how the block starts out:

Squaring the Top

Scribing the Rosette Design on the Top Using a Crayon and Compass

Removing Stone to Define the Highest and Lowest Points

Further Definition

Drawing Complete Design on the Surface

Finding Contours of Leaves and Petals

Shaping the Petals

This project will probably take me another week to finish. I look forward to posting the finished carving!

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One Reply to “The Summer of Stone”

  1. Rachele Nyssen

    Ok, this is much better but a few of the photos still don’t come up. The big first intro photo, the 2 photos after the photo of St Gregory’s, a photo after removing stone to define high and low points and the two last photos. Hope that helps! Wow, I am really impressed, good for you and I can now tell my friends that I know a real stone carver! Did I say really cool!!!

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