From our auspicious beginning seventeen years ago in 2001, three days after 9/11, with White House carver Patrick Plunkett as our first guest instructor, Sax Stonecarving Workshops have evolved into an institution widely recognized for the level of instruction and the quality of our teachers. We have welcomed such accomplished instructors as Alexandra Morosco, Frank Haufe, Fred Brownstein, Gary Haven Smith, Joseph Kincannon, Karin Sprague, Kazutaka Uchida, Kelly Jamison, Matt Auvinen, Nicholas Fairplay and Patrick Plunkett. Among them are American, English, German, and Japanese instructors, each of whom has left his or her own mark, and whose knowledge, skills and aesthetic have become part of the cumulative workshop experience.
Our workshops are small compared to most stone sculpture symposia. We limit the number of students to no more than eighteen per session so that our student:staff ratio is always 5 to 1 or better. Throughout the day, staff instructors circulate to help participants solve problems, make suggestions, or point out a book in our in extensive library that might be relevant.
Every student gets his or her own banker (carving table), a shaded tent area, electricity, and air. A generous piece of limestone is provided as part of the tuition, but there is also a large variety of other stones available for sale. Everyone is encouraged to have a basic set of carving tools. The workshop has a fantastic selection of carving tools from England, France, Germany, Italy and the US for sale. For beginners, it is a good idea to wait to buy tools until you have some guidance from a professional. It is easy to waste money on inappropriate tools. In the class, you will have time to try before you buy.
A typical day starts with coffee or tea and some sweets, followed by a small meeting in which we outline the day’s events and address any questions students may have. The rest of the day consists of demonstrations, carving time, a hearty lunch followed by more carving with an optional film or power point presentation. In 2017 we are planning an encore field trip to view and contemplate the nine Cataldi marble sculptures on a nearby private estate. These statues by Italian sculptor, Cataldi, whose many accomplishments include first prize in a sculpture competition judged by Auguste Rodin, represent some of the most sophisticated Neo-Classical carvings west of the Mississippi.
Every year we learn something new and a better way of doing things. Our staff have taken feedback, evaluated it, and implemented the best suggestions. The classes are participatory, meaning that everyone has the chance to shape not only his or her experience but also the experiences of those who follow. We are of the philosophy that there is more than one way to do things, but we do believe there is a right way to learn. Sometimes the roundabout approach is better than the straight away. After all, the most lasting lessons are those that are learned by making mistakes, by experimenting, and by pushing the envelope.
Our students have ranged in age from 14 to 83, and dedicated returning students account for over 50% of our attendance. Some students have attended classes from the very beginning, and many students have taken five or more classes with us.
We want our students to make what they came to make and what they want to see, be it a bird, a portrait, a carved word, an angel, an abstract shape, a bowl, or the ripples on an ocean shore.
SUMMER SESSIONS 2017
Welcome to the 17th Annual Sax Stonecarving Workshops!
This summer we will offer TWO courses:
SESSION 1: A seven-day intensive "Stonecarving A to Z/The English Tradition" with guest instructor, Joseph Kincannon. This class is open to all levels including beginners.
SESSION 2: A seven-day course for intermediate to advanced students with guest instructor, Matt Auvinen, & guest artist, Kazutaka Uchida.
All participants enjoy one-on-one instruction in a supportive atmosphere and an unequalled opportunity to study with the best instructors in the field. Class size is limited, so please register early to secure your place in a class.
Continue reading below for details about each session.
TUITION for each session is $875.
Register by March 1 to receive a $50 discount on tuition.
Each summer session includes homemade lunch each day and approximately 150 pounds of limestone or equivalent. Travel and accommodation expenses are not included.
Check out local places to stay, HERE.
Get to know our STAFF INSTRUCTORS.
Click here to read Mark's article about stonecarving in the July 2014 issue of Slippery Rock Gazette.
SUMMER SESSION ONE 2017
JUNE 24-30, 2017
Stonecarving A to Z / The English Tradition “Where to begin and how to finish”
with Guest Instructor Joseph Kincannon
In this workshop, students will learn carving techniques from guild certified master carver, Joseph Kincannon. This class is suitable for all levels of experience, and is limited to 18 participants, such that the student:staff ratio is five to one or better. Southwest Stoneworks is a working stonecarving business, and as such gives students a window into how to set up their own studios.
In this first workshop of our 17th season, students will learn and practice the time-honored techniques and traditions passed down from master to apprentice for hundreds of years. Joseph Kincannon is a product of that lineage, having spent five years as an apprentice carver at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and then serving as the lead stonecarver there for an additional six years. Joseph and his wife, Holly, now live in Austin, Texas, where they own Kincannon Studios, specializing in architectural and sculptural stonecarving. Joseph brings more than thirty years of carving experience to the workshop. He has been our Guest Instructor many times over the past 17 years and with good reason: his ability to convey information; his uncanny talent for making stone move like flowing water; his sense of humor, personal humility, and dedication to the art and craft of stonecarving; and a uniquely generous spirit.
The workshop is structured around five main activities: carving, demonstrations, video presentations, and individual instruction. The fifth component, which any returning student will be quick to mention, is the hearty lunches we serve every day. Our students and staff get to know each other well through a week of sharing these homemade daily lunches.
The scope of the workshop includes:
Basic geology of carving stone, tool selection and care, basic design considerations, basic layout (measuring) systems, roughing out, texturing, polishing, drilling, pinning, power tool use and safety (grinders, chainsaws, drills, pneumatic carving tools), lettering, rigging, and gold-leafing.
SUMMER SESSION TWO 2017
AUGUST 12-18, 2017
East Meets West
This workshop will expose students to traditional and innovative Italian stonecarving techniques and approaches. It is most appropriate for intermediate and advanced participants.
Our Guest Instructor, Matt Auvinen, has spent more than twenty years in Italy - studying, carving and teaching.
Matt worked for several stone carving ateliers in the Pietrasanta area, the epicenter of Italian stonecarving, where he learned and practiced stonecarving under the tutelage of master carvers perfecting the techniques that have been passed down from professional to apprentice for hundreds of years. While in Italy, he became the sculpture instructor at Temple University Rome as well as a sculpture and drawing instructor at the Studio Arts Centers International in Florence. Upon returning to the US, he became the 3D design instructor at Chico State University, in Chico, California, where he currently lives.
Matt has the ability to present what he has learned in an imaginative and interesting way, weaving the classical with the contemporary. His extensive knowledge of the history of stone sculpture adds dimension to the class. A bonus highlight in last year’s class was Matt’s presentation of his collection of specialized carving tools.
This session is a wonderful and rare opportunity to work with a stonecarver and sculptor who has been in a unique position to receive carving knowledge directly from the source.
We are honored to welcome Kazutaka Uchida from Tokyo, Japan as our guest artist for the thirteenth time. Mr. Uchida has been a sculptor for over forty years, and has recently retired as a college professor in Nagoya, Japan. His work is in numerous museum collections worldwide, and he brings his unique Japanese aesthetic to our participants through demonstrations and a slide presentation.
or Click Here to REGISTER online.
Session 2 is FULL but you may still get on the waiting list. (Deposit Required)
For more information, please contact Mark Saxe at (505) 579-9179 or email.
Our workshops are sponsored in part by the Embudo Valley Arts Association, a non-profit organization supporting the arts in our community.
read more about Kazutaka Uchida
1948 Born in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture.
1972 Graduated from Tama University of Fine Arts, Tokyo.
1975 Attended Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris.
1982 Commissioned to conduct research on art handcrafts in local village in Nepal.
1991 Commissioned by the government of the People's Republic of China to conduct
research on the culture of small minority group in China.
1993 Served as visiting artist, University of Oregon (Japan Foundation Fellowship).
1994 Appointed courtesy professor by the Department of Fine and Applied Arts,
University of Oregon.
Panelist at the 15th International Sculpture Conference in San Francisco.
The Universal Language of Kazutaka Uchida
It is rare to meet an artist whose work is, at once, profoundly rooted in his or her own culture, but can also resonate with absolute clarity to those of us living across the ocean in another. One senses this possibility in the art of Kazutaka Uchida. His chosen medium, the elemental shapes he forms, their scale, and their overall effect form a universal language with a particulary evocative Japanese accent.
There is a fundamental aesthetic to Uchida's work that finds resonance in his Japanese heritage -- clean lines, subtle beauty, harmonious relationship, bold transformations, and respect and patience for his chosen medium of stone. And what strength and permanence! Whether individual works of art or installations, Uchida's sculptures often stand like the Japanese archipelago itself. The titles of his works give evidence of this interest -- "The Ocean and the Sun" or "Roundness of the Horizon." Their spiritual and physical relationship to Zen monastic gardens is evident.
His sculptural forms also manifest something more than cultural respect and continuity. In Uchida's works there is another level of the microcosmic that predates humanity. Again, the titles he gives his sculptures suggest this possibility. Like a subscript, their names often end with the words, "-- the Fossil," giving them a prehistoric reference. His sculptures' polished forms frequently seem embedded in rough stone, having simply been released by Uchida, the geologist.
That Uchida studied sculpture in the same Italian marble quarries where Michelangelo selected his stone offers insight into thier shared attitude that the artist simply reveals that which is embedded in nature. Whereas Michelangelo found this truth by sculpting stone to reveal the human soul, Uchida, as a man of his own age, manifests the same belief through an expressive manipulation on stone to reveal a universal abstraction. In doing this, he has found a timeless language that enriches our view of the world and enlivens age-old cultural beliefs.
Dr. David Robertson- Associate Director of the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art,
University of Chicago
© 2017 Southwest Stoneworks, LLC.