Stone sculpture

stone sculpture

Hut I stayed in whist doing stone sculpture

Introduction to Stone Sculpture: A Journey of Resilience and Craftsmanship

In the wake of a life-altering pilgrimage to Mamallapuram—a journey underscored by the shared experience of surviving the devastating 2004 Tsunami—I found myself at the heart of a stone sculpting community. The workshop was conveniently situated beside the main retail hub, on the road leading to the majestic Shore Temple, an iconic edifice that lures cultural tourists and beachcombers alike. The very sight of a foreign sculptor, meticulously chipping away at a block of stone, seemed to mesmerize the Indian tourists, deepening their interest in the heritage-soaked locale.

Day in the Life of a Stone Sculptor: Craft, Camaraderie, and Chai

Mornings began in this sanctuary of sculptors with a ritualistic pouring of spiced tea, the aroma mingling with the earthiness of raw stone. As we unveiled an assortment of hand chisels, grinders, drills, and sanders, power cables snaked their way to individual workstations, electrifying the air with anticipation.

I was presented with a stubborn block of granite, a blank canvas begging to be transformed by the mallet and chisel. An hour into the toil, our hands weary but spirits buoyed, another round of spiced tea would circulate, fueling conversations as varied as the forms emerging from our respective blocks of stone.

Sculpting is an art of subtraction, a disciplined removal of excess to reveal the beauty that lies within. And these blocks were unyielding, demanding precise, thoughtful strokes. While the old hands of the trade leaned on their power tools—a necessity when dealing with such tenacious material—I found my rhythm in the traditional cadence of hand chiseling. It was laborious, yes, but also meditative. The seasoned sculptors, wielding designer power-tool tips, etched intricate designs into stone, their hands moving in a dance of mechanical grace.

As the day drew to a close, we’d stand back to admire our labors—a tableau of human endeavor, chisels and stone, culture and friendship. For me, the experience became a chapter in an ongoing saga that began with ‘Traveler’s Urn,’ my 2005 foray into the digital landscape. Like that early website, this chapter of sculptural immersion reflected the ethos of a time when cultural curiosity was just starting to meet the boundless possibilities of the internet age, offering a tangible touchpoint in a rapidly virtualizing world.

stone sculpture
Here I use the basic hammer and chisel
Italo Giardina, artist at work
Here I use a power tool to remove material.

traditional sculpture
Traditional granite sculpture
Minimalist figurative bringing out granulated properties of the granite stone.

Sculpture linked to the Australian context.

art practice at Mission Beach in 2006.

artwork by I. Giardina
Cassowary design in granite

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