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Pacific Northwest Granite
Columbia River Basalt
The above series is designed to explore one key aspect of stone sculpture that is unique to the art form, its geology.
Why should you care about the geology of stone?
In a rapidly changing and competitive art world, stone sculpture is one of the few arts that can tie back to the beginning of art and is of a of medium unlike any other. Knowing more about the geology of the stone will allow stone sculptors to:
- Select stone that has a compelling history for the sculptor and audience alike
- Marvel at its various elements of grain, color and texture as it is worked
- Consider how the chosen artistic form relates to the science of the stone
- Weave into the final art work story a geologic component that enhances the interest in the work by the potential buyers
Each of the presentations covered a commonly worked stone by NWSSA members and follows a structured outline:
- The Stone Defined
- General Description, Physical/Chemical Properties and Historic Use
- Specimens (macro and thin section)
- Specific Occurrences
- Age and Geologic Description
- Formation Environment and Processes
- Global Paleogeographic Setting
- Modern Analogs
- Select Creations
I hope you enjoy these presentations and please use them to enliven your art.
Michael E. Yeaman
by Bill Laprade
Ed. Note: The Stone of Heaven is one of the most revered natural substances in the world, such has been the case for centuries, particularly in Asia. What other mineral would make a Chinese emperor offer fifteen cities for a jade carving that he could hold in the palm of his hand or make Montezuma smile when he heard that the Spaniard Cortez was interested only in gold, since Montezuma's most precious possession was jade.
Since Neolithic times, no other mineral has been so venerated, nor so often intertwined with the dead to accompany them into the afterlife. In this life, to the Chinese, jade embodies the five cardinal virtues of life: charity, modesty, courage, justice, and wisdom. But China and Asia have not had a monopoly on jade; jade art and tools have been found in the Maori, Olmec, Aztec, and Mayan cultures, and among the NW American Coast Indians and Eskimos.
The English word jade has a circuitous derivation. It started with the Spanish expression "piedra de hijada", meaning the "stone of the loins", because it was claimed that this stone could cure diseases of the kidneys. This gave rise to the word nephrite, from the Greek word for kidneys: nephros. The French equivalent l'ejade eventually evolved into le jade, and its English translation, jade.
Jade is actually two minerals: nephrite and jadeite.
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