Getting all set up

We arrived at the house we’re renting on Thursday and started to get settled. Friday we had our orientation to the studio space; learning about how the compressor works, where the tools are, and most importantly, where to dumpster dive for free stone from the stone yard next door. Sculptors have been arriving and leaving both Friday and Saturday and it seems there will be six to twelve of us around this month. Some have been here all winter. So far we’ve met sculptors from Argentina, South Korea, Sweden and even South Carolina, USA. There are others we haven’t talked to enough yet to find out where they’re from.

Tamara and Eirene at the house. Sunshine on our first day!
Looking across the valley from the house, we’re on a pretty steep hill, (more about that on a future blog). Notice the terracing to the right of the house in the photo.
Looking out to the water over the seaside towns, our house is in the foothills of Strettoia 2 miles from the studio.

One of the most remarkable things is that the stone industry is and has been the big industry for a long time, there are stone yards and sculptors and all the related services everywhere you go. Kind of like nirvana or maybe heaven. Yesterday we had a “workers lunch” at a nearby restaurant and we got seated in the not as fancy back room with other stone workers with a blasting gas fireplace (which felt great!). We enjoyed a big lunch for only 12 Euros and we’ve got leftovers!

Part of the studio yard at Studio Pescarella. The sculpture in the foreground is that of Neal Barab, part owner and a UC Santa Cruz grad.
A view of some of the work spaces and the surrounding hills in the background.

Not only are there stone yards EVERYWHERE, there is sculpture everywhere, not just stone, but bronze and steel too. Today we hit a weekly city market to buy some inexpensive warm clothes for the studio and some fresh veggies. We walked out on a pier in nearby Tonfano and there were 11 large sculptures around the fountain and on the pier. We’ve driven by so many I’ve lost count.

So much happens every day right now it’s hard to know where to start sharing experiences with you, some will wait (like tool shopping adventures, that’s a whole post on it’s own). I haven’t even introduced you to my travel partners yet so here goes. I’m sure those of you in the NorthWest Stone Sculptors Association know Tamara Buchanan, a talented and experienced sculptor and teacher, she’s been in Pietrasanta before to sculpt and her experience and interpreting skills have been much appreciated. Eirene Blomberg, like Tamara, hails from Lopez Island and it’s not her first trip to Italy but it’s her first sculpting trip. I’ll try to find some links for photos of their work in a future blog.

Tamara getting her first dose of dust.
Eirene working on a piece of marble rescued from the dumpster.
Unpacking my bag at my workspace on our first day, notice how clean it is (was). Thanks to Tamara for the photo!

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Until next time, Ciao!

13 thoughts on “Getting all set up

    • It’s so wonderful being surrounded by all the stone and art and also having it not all be historical but experiencing a very active art community!


  • Fantastic, Sue!
    We are so into your trip. We realize sending messages takes time but they are so appreciated. Your comments are reread numerous times.
    Have fun and raise a glass for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Fantastic first entry Sue. Thanks for taking the time to begin to get us statesiders on board. Can’t wait to read (and see) more. What a great experience for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Carrie, it’s so exciting to be here and I have enjoyed watching others when they travel so I thought I’d try it! It’s so much easier to stay connected in this way than ever before.


  • What an amazing opportunity for you! I’d say, like heaven on Earth! Can’t wait to see what amazing pieces are created with all that marvelous inspiration around you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa, coming here to sculpt has been a long-time dream and it’s so deeply wonderful to have it be better than I’ve imagined.


  • OMG, I’m getting goosebumps reading this. Sounds like your trip is off to a great start. Art making trips to Italy tend to have a long tail, with positive effects on ones work for years and years. This was a great post. I hope you continue to have time to do this, for all of us who are living vicariously via your posts. Anne

    On Sat, Mar 2, 2019 at 1:46 PM Sue Taves Sculpture wrote:

    > Sue Taves posted: ” We arrived at the house we’re renting on Thursday and > started to get settled. Friday we had our orientation to the studio space; > learning about how the compressor works, where the tools are, and most > importantly, where to dumpster dive for free stone fro” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I know you’ve had these experiences, thanks for sharing that perspective. I can see how this will be part of me now and we haven’t even been here a week yet.


    • We’re seeing plenty of bronze here too Jeff, they just hauled in some large pieces to the neighboring sandblasting building (drive a forklift in size) to get cleaned up so there has to be a foundry nearby, haven’t found the foundry though yet.


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