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My 5 Life Lessons from Stone

As I've followed my passion for sculpting with stone, I have found great joy and satisfaction in that expression. But I have to acknowledge the challenges inherent to the learning and practice of this discipline that have taught me some of my most important life lessons. The first is courage. I've got this beautiful piece of stone that has come halfway around the world; and there's that scary moment when I must crack into it and more importantly expose it's essence. I've learned to truly appreciate and respect the stone and what it has come to teach me, so it's not just an insignificant rock. I feel it is my responsibility to bring the best of what I have to offer to the experience of that particular creation and how it can potentially affect the world.


The second is acceptance. Once I have removed a portion of the stone, that's a decision that cannot be altered. There's no gluing the pieces back on. As in life there are certain experiences that we cannot change so we must accept them, make the best of them and carry on. The third is that there are no mistakes. I've often gone down a road that's led me to a seeming dead end. When this happens, I simply walk away, give the work and my mind some space to re-calibrate. When I allow myself to do this, I always find clarity the next day or next week or sometime soon after.


The fourth life lesson that working with stone has taught me is to not be overly attached to the outcome. When I'm flexible in what I want something to be, even though I always want it to be perfect, I'm open to see new opportunities arise that are completely unexpected. These are the joyful surprises that you get when working with an organic medium. For example, when I carved 'Night" out of a piece of Atlantic black marble, I wasn't aware of the white crescent moon shapes that appear throughout the stone. So the name of the piece came so easily as these white flecks against the dark black of the rest of the stone reminded me of the night sky.


The last lesson is patience. This is honestly a virtue I never thought I possessed. And so I'm surprised to find that with the time and physical effort it takes to create one of my pieces, I have to be willing to be with it for awhile and so be very patient. There are ways to speed up the process; for example you can use all motorized tools to carve out a stone sculpture and produce a simple shape in much less time than it it were done by hand. In fact, this is done all the time in the marketplace. But I truly want my pieces to show the affect of my hands with the end result being something one of a kind.


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© 2019 by Christina Bertsos

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