Bob Olander loves blue/green onyx and marble
My stone preferences change over time and with the project I have in mind. My current favorite is a blue/green onyx from South America, which I've been carefully hoarding for special projects and inspiration. I like this stone for the striking colors, random patterns, and its marvelous translucence. I've always loved how light interacts with stone, especially when it's translucent. Many of my pieces are shaped very thin and delicate to allow light to shine through.
One preference that hasn't changed over the years is my attraction to marble in its many colors and varieties. It's not so much how the stone looks, but my deep emotional attachment to this material. There is something profound and magical about taking stone that began in seas millions of years ago, rose into mountains, was transformed by extremes of heat and pressure, journeyed thousands of miles on drifting continents, and then be able to sculpt it into a form that creates an intellectual and emotional response.
One of my latest interests is combining translucent and opaque stone in sculpture that can be moved in different directions, depending on the light and your mood. In this piece called Io, after one of Jupiter's moons, the outside is limestone, then blue green onyx, and then white marble with an orange calcite center. It is pinned and sleeved so that all elements (except the orange calcite center) can be rotated independently. It stands about 20 inches high.
As far as future directions, I am experimenting with incorporating colored and translucent glass with dark granite. It's a difficult yet exciting challenge, and I'm curious to see where it will lead.