How I Became a Direct Carver
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to natural stone: The travertine inlays in my grandmother’s matching coffee tables, the gravel in the yard of the elementary school I attended, the beautiful marble walls and floors in office buildings...they all delighted and fascinated me.
I’ve wanted to carve stone and wood since I was about seven years old. When I was about six or seven, someone came to our house and showed me how to carve a bar of soap. From that day I was hooked. I decided that stone was the most wonderful substance in the world. I couldn’t get enough of feeling Its hardness and coolness in my hands. My hands itched to have a tool and something to carve.
However, the times were such that many young people from conservative working class families were encouraged to study subjects that would prepare them for the traditional working world such as business, healthcare, or law. Art — and certainly stone carving— was NOT considered one of those subjects. I was encouraged to study business. I spent my college years studying accounting and not really enjoying it. After that I worked for one of the “Big Eight” (now big six) accounting firms and earned my CPA certificate — because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. When that became intolerable I worked as a senior accountant for a large manufacturing company in Cleveland. And when that became intolerable, I decided it was time for a fresh start, and I moved to New York City and worked various temp jobs to support myself.
Whenever I had time, I would wander art supply stores such as Pearl Paint looking longingly at steel stone carving chisels, wishing that I knew how to use them. When I saw a notice on the Pearl Paint bulletin board advertising stone carving classes for beginners, I jumped at the chance. Here I am, almost 20 years later, and I happily use my tools to carve every chance I get.
For the past eight years, I’ve had the great fortune of studying one-on-one with master carver Lorrie Goulet. With her, I increased my stone carving skills, and learned to carve wood.
Ms. Goulet introduced me to the wonderful world of “direct carving” which means that I don’t follow any drawings or maquettes (models), but simply allow the shape, color, and other properties of the material to guide me as I work.