For the month of August, I’m doing a contract labor job for carver Nick Fairplay. Back in 2017, during my first carving apprenticeship with Andrew Wilson Smith, Andrew told me about Nick Fairplay, referring to him as one of the best stone carvers in the country. Shortly thereafter, I was about to drop in at Nick’s Vermillion, Ohio studio while on a road trip. Nick was friendly, but when I asked about the possibility of doing an apprenticeship with him, he told me I would need more experience and skills in order to be useful and recommended practicing by carving gothic foliage in clay. A few years later, I was able to take a workshop with him at Sax Stone Carving in New Mexico. And, from time to time, I would call him and ask a technical question. Earlier this year, I also joined the Stone Carvers Guild. Membership includes access to their online forum, and I’ve been asking questions there (super useful!). I must have asked enough intelligent-sounding questions and posted enough decent-looking pictures of my work because, a few months ago, Nick contacted me and asked if I’d be available to do some work for him in his studio. He’s has a lot of jobs currently and needs extra help! I said, YES, and here I am, staying in a suburb of Cleveland with some VERY obliging relatives and carving some gothic foliage spandrels. Seriously. Dream come true!
There are three assistants in the studio, including me, plus Nick. He does all the design work and runs the business. The assistants just get to carve. It’s SO NICE to get to focus on carving and not worry about anything else. Here are some shots of the studio.