We are reviving a rare material and seldom used gemstone that conjures up images of King Tut and Renaissance sculpture. Alabaster. For 37 years we have trekked over seven states to unearth a full palate, prospecting rare colored stone to create unique and functional forms.
The creations reflect natures simple elegance - its shapes, flowers, rockscapes, colors, faces and figures. The functional forms - containers, bowls, and oil lamps invite personal involvement. The work is a celebration of the materials of the Earth. Alabasters are combined in each piece with other gemstones, rare fossils, mineral specimens, crystals and fine woods. The medium and the functional aspect of the work make this a most singular art form.
Transforming raw stone into vessels of beauty is the creative process that engages most of our time. It is a dialogue between the maker and the piece. The stone speaks. When we listen and respond a harmony is created and we sing together. The resulting pieces speak for themselves - they have a life of their own.
The 'spirit of the work' begins with the stone. But before that is our passion for the stone. Not store bought, our Alabaster is hand gathered throughout the Southwest U.S. The unearthing is at once a labor intensively grueling and ecstatic experience. Each discovery of a rare colored or translucent Alabaster is a portal of possibility, holding the promise and invitation of extravagant beauty. One must be willing to 'careen on the edge of the Universe' to discover this 'Queen of Stones'!
New tools have been applied and adapted to create forms never before seen - an original artform. A simple abrasive grinding process is perfectly suited for this most delicate of stones to bring out its soft, plastic and translucent qualities.
The 'stone speaks', we listen. Rather than impose our ideas on the stone we are led in most cases by the shape, color and translucency of the stone itself to bring out its highest beauty. For this reason we refer to ourselves as 'stonecarvers' rather than stone sculptors. We further celebrate the Earth's beauty by combining various fossils, gemstones and desert woods into our pieces. Each finished piece is a feast for the senses, rooted in the Earth, touching ethereal heights! And then we rest!
Selling and promoting the work is the completion of our process. Just as there is a dialogue with the stone, so too do we have one with our patrons. There happens a trinity between the buyer, the maker and the piece. The energy from that exchange is exhilarating and helps initiate new beginnings.
Susan Zalkind & Paul Hawkins