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Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: MJ Anderson

Oh! cursed a thousand times be the day and hour I left Carrara! It is the cause of my ruin…." (Letter of April 18, 1518, Michelangelo)

MJ in the studioI have been asked to write about my life working between two studios. My annual migration to carve in Italy has been based on pretense. With no inheritance to fund my forays, I just pretend I am going. When friends and acquaintances ask when I am next going to Italy, I often reply, “I just got back-- and you want me to leave again?” But when my visa card is paid off from the previous trip, I make up some answer like “perhaps in September” and if I repeat the words often enough, the universe conspires, I sell enough sculpture, and I make reservations.

For forty years, I have returned to Carrara to be reabsorbed into the layering patina of time. Walking the streets and vicoli (alleyways) where marble carvers have lived for centuries, looking upward to the light changing atmosphere throughout a day on the rugged mined-out mountains of marble, I feel a part of this place. I am not a visitor or tourist,

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Artist Spotlight: Jonna Ramey

Beyond Beauty V Kicks Up Her Heels, Jonna Ramey 2016. Honeycomb Calcite on Granite.

“Stone is place. As a sculptor, working the local stone can be a way of getting to know where you live, a means to come to terms with place.”

I wrote those words four years ago after moving from Sonoma, California to Salt Lake City, Utah. I was trying to settle in, become part of this place. I began with honeycomb calcite, a local stone, carving my first major piece in Salt Lake: V Kicks Up Her Heels. I committed to create a body of work in honeycomb calcite that would take three years to complete. Thirteen pieces from that period were shown in a solo exhibition, Beyond Beauty, at the Eccles Gallery at Salt Lake Community College in April and May of 2021.
"Exuberant" Jonna Ramey, 2011.
Mined in nearby Hanna, Utah, honeycomb calcite is known for its pure beauty, which is all that most people can see. I wanted to overcome this distraction and explore my own ideas and themes. First, I indulged the stone’s beauty with my abstract piece, Exuberant. I felt the simple shape could show off the stunning calcite characteristics. I worked the shape with diamond blades, burrs, and grinders, then hand-sanded to 3000 grit, sealed with Tenax Ager, and waxed to a high gloss polish with Renaissance white wax.

I learned carving from Zimbabwean teachers. As a result,

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Artist Spotlight: Carole Duree

Mask, by Carole Duree Orange Alabaster 7" x 9" x 4.5"  Sadly, it wasn't until age forty-nine that I discovered sculpting at a community college in Salem, Oregon. The beginner’s dilemma was to then find stone and tools. When an artist at a local show said he collected his stone and made his tools, I married him! We just celebrated our twenty-fourth anniversary.

Starting with river stone, sandstone, soapstone, and desert pumice, I used hand tools, later adding angle grinder, die grinder and Dremel. Even though I lusted for speed, pneumatic noise shredded any sense of bliss when carving so I didn't go there. I've never had any agenda or direction but to carve what I see in the stone, learning something every time. My first lesson: I don't care for shiny finishes.

Fortuitously stumbling across the first NWSSA Symposium at Silver Falls, Oregon, I was transported, volunteering several years to help run it, too. During a week of exposure to stone, power and upscale hand tools, and some of the most giving, sharing people in the art world, I used rubble from artists working on large pieces to start learning attributes of sophisticated stone. Lesson: A maquette is

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Artist Spotlight: Stephanie Robison

Spirit Rack, Artist: Stephanie Robison Photographer: John JancaI am a first generation college student with not one but two degrees in sculpture. I feel this is important to mention because being a first generation college student allowed me the freedom to get a “useless” degree in art or whatever I wanted without any parental pressure. College simply wasn’t prioritized in my family; it was a place people went to lose their religion and thus not a destination my family wished me to set sights on. The only reason I actually ended up in college was due to encouragement and assistance from a puzzled high school counselor who couldn’t figure out why someone with a 4.0, enrolled in college prep courses, wouldn’t be planning on attending college.

Yellow Cloud Blob by Stephanie RobisonIn college, I was required to take a sculpture course. I put it off until the last possible moment, completely clueless that it held my destiny. That first day of class, when my hands touched clay,

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Artist Spotlight: Michael Binkley

After seven months of preparation and build-out, I am finally ready to open the doors of my new gallery and studio in Squamish, Canada—right in the middle of a pandemic. Although the timing is less than ideal, my dream of the past three years is finally coming to fruition.1. Michael Binkley in the empty studio 9 1 2019

In September, 2019 I was able to take occupancy of my industrial unit, which I bought in 2017. Huh? Well, through a series of events, (which is another story—search “Moodyville 2016” on YouTube), I had to vacate my previous studio and gallery of thirty-two years, and then my wife Michelle and I travelled for a year during 2018-2019.

Setting up the gallery 11 2019After our home and studio/gallery/sculpture garden of thirty-two years sold, I could no longer afford new digs for my studio in the Metro Vancouver, Canada area. Looking farther afield, I settled on a new-build industrial unit in the town of Squamish, about a forty-five minute drive north of Vancouver where our house is. I was to take possession in the fall of 2017, but due to construction delays, I got the keys at the end of February 2018. As Michelle and I had planned the year abroad to travel and work in Europe beginning in June, I decided not to move my equipment into the brand new unit. Instead, we found a non-art-related tenant to rent the space from us in our absence.

Upon returning from travel,

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Artist Spotlight - Adrian Hoye

Adrian in the new shopI have always been a person who likes to take things apart and find what lies hidden inside. Maybe that is what draws me to carve stone: the idea that there is something within waiting to be released. I have been hesitant to call myself a sculptor. Sculptors are those other people. I do this as a hobby, but by creating sculptures I have slowly been able to accept the idea that yes, I am a sculptor.

This transformation has taken me most of ten years, about 18 sculpture symposiums, and about 30,000 miles of driving. Almost always, John Thompson, my friend and the person who started me down this path, has been right there in the truck helping with driving, loading, talking, and listening. Through the years, going to and coming home from these camps, we have talked and dreamed of what next. How could we start a studio, work stone year-round, feed off each other’s ideas and excitement, and maybe even teach others?

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