Sarah J Walton


I was recently lucky enough to spend a blissful few days in the rustically beautiful Maestrazgo region of Spain. I went to try my hand at stone carving at a workshop run by Jon Sait, a stone carver himself. Studio Golandrina is set in the tiny village of Canada de Banatanduz in South Eastern Aragonand is situated on the side of a mountain with a gorge stretching out below and beyond. My days were spent carving Alabaster from 9am - 6pm with swallows swooping through the air above and the occasional curious vulture circling and gliding by. The only sounds were the birds tweeting and the bells on the goats as they were herded to and from their watering troughs.
I really enjoyed the stone carving process once I had got to grips with the various hammers and chisels employed to carry out the craft (under Jon's patient instruction) It is a labour intensive process and slow but not as arduous as you may think, the tap tap tapping of the chisel and the chipping away at the stone is incredibly satisfying.  When the ideas start to present themselves and the focus is there, the shear lack of distraction (apart from looking up occasionally to admire the view) I found really aided the creative process.
I started with a cylinder of Alabaster weighing 23kg and after 5 days carving managed to create a form suggestive of a bird combined with a nautilus shell weighing approx 12.5kg. 
Through hand building my ceramics I have developed a keen instinct for 3 dimensional form and actually my whole approach to life has always been to try and see all around things be they problems or objects. My response to the stone and the removal of what I deemed to be the excess to reveal a form that originally only existed in my head was completely intuitive and I don't think I could've worked to a blueprint or design but for me this is the very essence of this particular art form.