Creative Process

The work begins with our shared love and passion for Alabaster. There’s something about this stone that thrills us to the core and invites us to embark with it upon its adventure. It could be the discovery and variety of its full spectrum colors, it could be how exciting it is to see light filtering through the stone or maybe it’s that we can make it do whatever we want almost as though it were something pliable – which it isn’t!

There is definitely something about the energy of Alabaster and it’s ‘draw’ upon us that compels us onward in the face of the intensity of actually lifting the stone to carve it. Alabaster is after all known as “The Queen of Stones” because she’s soft, invites touching, is colorful and translucent. The spirit of each piece begins with the stone. She speaks and we listen.

These hand gathered (not store bought) materials make our Alabasters even more precious. Our favorite days are waking up in the morning, kicking on some rocks out in the pile until one speaks to us and then entering our carving dialogue with it. The ‘stone speaks’, we listen. Rather than impose our ideas on the stone we are led in most cases by the shape, color and translucency of the stone itself to bring out its highest beauty. For this reason we refer to ourselves as ‘stonecarvers’ rather than stone sculptors.

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We further celebrate the Earth’s beauty by combining various fossils, gemstones and desert woods into our pieces. Each finished piece is a feast for the senses, rooted in the Earth, touching ethereal heights! And then we rest! With his knowledge of tooling from being a production engineer Paul developed, adapted and created tools to work the Alabaster that had never before been used on this stone.

Previously, traditional percussive stone carving tools had been used by others on this stone. Paul’s abrasive grinding tools changed the paradigm for carving Alabaster allowing the material to express a delicacy and plasticity that had never previously been achieved in the history of art like Roses that look like they’re blowing in the wind. Although we have enjoyed the representation of a few galleries over the years, for the most part in our 37 years we’ve old our own work at quality art shows.

Our connection with those of you who fall in love with and purchase our work is strong and inspires us to make more gorgeous pieces for those who will take them home and love them. In fact, the point of sale where we exchange our very best energies is very much a part of our creative process, spurring us all on to new beginnings! by Susan Zalkind & Paul Hawkins