Saturday, July 3, 2010

Elegance in Stone by Collene Karcher

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore,
is not an act but a habit."

Stone is unforgiving. A group of us young designers once met with the memorial sculptor, Dario Rossi. We were admiring one of his angels, carved from Elberton granite, when someone from the group asked, "What do you do if a finger breaks off?" Dario smiled and, with his Italian accent, said, "Oh, that's easy! I just carve an extra finger on the other hand."

I am a former memorialist- maker of tombstones, working several years in the shop of my father and later with George Crone in Memphis, TN. Memories of the dust, sounds and smells (granite being sawed smells different than marble) that embody a stone shop go deep within me. In our shops we sandblasted the lettering through hand-cut stencils (now the stencils are machine cut). Unless you have worked with stone you can't fully appreciate the elegance of a Trajan letter engraved with a cold chisel, guided only by the hand of the artist. 

Some things cannot be improved on, only carried on. Collene Karcher is carrying on the art of hand-lettering in stone and wood. I discovered her work in The Toe River Journal. Here is a sample of her work.

"Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will stand before
kings, they will not stand before obscure men."
Proverbs 22:29

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