As a lawyer, I spent many, many years on the front lines of civil rights law in the San Francisco Bay Area. I retired to devote myself to learning the art of stone carving and to our two small companies (Stone Sculptors Supplies and Withywindle Gallery) here in Guerneville, California, heart of the Sonoma County wine country. I also teach beginning carving at our full service stone carving studio.
The most interesting commission work I get is from Funeria Gallery in a nearby community of Graton. The gallery specializes in art which honors folks and animals who have died.
Three years ago, I was commissioned to do the cat in the picture on this page. It was for a couple’s cat that died, and is carved from Carrara marble, hollowed out, and now holds the cat ashes. I had to get a certain expression on the cat’s face—smugness….I hope I succeeded. The couple seems quite happy with the results.
Currently, I am commissioned to do an Atlantic Puffin for human ashes. This is a real challenge, since I have to get the shape of the bird on the outside, and hollow out the inside to hold a substantial amount of ashes—humans are larger than cats. I am doing it out of Italian arabescoto marble, and enjoying learning about puffins, a bird I was not familiar with.
In addition to my commission work, our gallery and our stone and tool supply company keep me busy, and of course, the obligatory buying trips to Italy for stone and tools are an added adventure. My advice: keep on reinventing yourself and you’ll never get old.