Stone carving has literally been with us since our prehistoric age and may be as old as 800,000 years according to some sources. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_carving
Even in our cave dwelling days, we have wanted to tell our story. We wanted to tell our story in a way that even though we perished, the memory of who we were did not.
Until the bronze age, we were mainly either beating certain stone with harder stones or, using abrasive granules to grind, abrade patterns into surfaces. These evolved into what we would call high reliefs today.
Even still, major stone sculpting was accomplished. This is evidenced by the Moai, giant statues created by the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island from 1200-1500 AD.
Stone sculpting has been the permanent record keeper of gods, goddesses and rulers who believed themselves to be demi-gods
Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, Roman, Greek and indeed almost every culture's leaders used sculpture as a means of immortalizing themselves throughout history.
Sometimes, it would take years to finish one piece of sculpture, but in those days sculptors were treated like rock stars.
In more recent history, sculpture became fine art, as did painting and other mediums . There are a few differing forms of sculpting today, however, stone sculpting, is a discipline few seldom attempt. The reasons most artists avoid this medium are simple.
Stone, varies not only in color, but in hardness. Also, the way stone is formed, can lead to differing matrices, veins of one mineral running through another, thus giving the stone the potential to break under the stress of chiseling. One must choose their stone wisely.
Rock, for the most part is heavy and cumbersome. Transporting it can be difficult. Also, there is no such thing as a stone stretcher. You can always chisel, file or sand more from the stone, but it can never be added back once its gone.
The work of stone sculpting can be heavy, tedious and time consuming. In short, every chisel blow, every rasp stroke and file drag must be correct, the first time, every time!
Even when everything is done absolutely correct, a stone can shatter. Sometimes after months of work! So, why would anyone want to attempt this?
For myself, there is a wonderful gift just under the rough exterior of each stone. Beautiful often brilliant colors and translucence owing to the differing mineral content, reveal themselves to me as I work the stone.
Each stone knows what it desires to be. To bring that out, gives me great pleasure.
A mentor of mine once told me," You don't choose stone sculpting, it chooses you. Then it teaches you patience. Because patience is needed to bring out the best in the stone...and the best in yourself."
Steve Lynch, Sculptor/Artist
Steve Lynch: Artist/ Sculptor /Pipe Maker