I went to Italy for 10 days this month in order to continue studying with stone carver Dario Tazzioli. Dario is a very traditional carver in the sense of being part of the living tradition of stone carving. He learned from a master who learned from a master who learned from a master, etc… to time immemorial. His studio is in the Apli Apuani, a region of Italy in the same mountain range as the famous marble quarries of Carrara (where Michelangelo go this marble).
During this trip, I learned the method of copying (and enlarging or diminishing) a model into stone using calipers. This is an older method than the technique of using a pointing machine which is the most used method currently. It is simpler in concept but in some ways more labor intensive. It’s much more flexible than a pointing machine, however. Dario also corrected my technique in basic stone removal skills. And, I got the chance to work in beautiful Carrrara marble.
The portrait bust I was copying was from a sculpture portrait workshop last year which I took with Jason Arkles in Florence.
Here are some more images of the caliper copying process.
Being in Dario’s studio also gave me the chance to see the projects he’s working on. During my time there, he finished and installed a grave and headstone at a local cemetery and started work on another grave stone. Dario also makes his own lime mortar and sometimes paints frescoes, and while I was there, he was engaged on part of the lime mortar making process.
Of course, I also enjoyed just being in Italy and enjoying the mountains! The village of Frassinoro, where I stayed in the Dragon Valley (Val di Dragone). It’s just gorgeous.
And, dear reader, does this all sound just delightful!? Well, next year, I’m organizing a workshop for 4-6 people to come with me to study for a week with Dario! It’s planned for October 2024, dates TBD. We’ll stay at the Albergo Alpino in Piandellagoti, a few miles from Dario’s studio and spent the days at his studio. Contact me if you would like more info!