From our auspicious beginning 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 2018 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 2020
Welcome to the 20th Annual Sax Stonecarving Workshops!
This summer we will offer THREE courses:
SESSION 1: A three day Letter-Carving workshop
This class is open to all levels including beginners.
SESSION 2: A seven-day course with guest instructor, Fred X. Brownstein.
SESSION 3: A seven-day course with our staff instructors.
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.
Session 1 TUITION is $300
TUITION for sessions 2 and 3 is $925.
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.
SPRING SESSION ONE 2020
MAY 23, 24 and 25, 2020
In this workshop, students will spend three days delving into the art and craft of carving letters in stone. Letter carving is considered by some to be the most exacting of art forms, and this class is an opportunity to learn the techniques necessary to carve beautiful letters in stone. Beginners and advanced carvers are welcome.
SUMMER SESSION TWO 2020
July 25-31, 2020
with Fred X. Brownstein
National Sculpture Society Fellow, Fred X. Brownstein returns for a second year after receiving rave reviews from last year's participants. Fred trained and worked in Italy for 16 years before setting up his studio in Bennington, Vermont. With generosity of spirit, Fred shares the knowledge, experience, and techniques gained from his forty year career as a professional sculptor. Participants will learn everything needed to carve a sculpture: stone selection, layout techniques, use of hand & power tools, tool care, rigging, texturing, polishing, and mounting. This class is a rare opportunity to work with an artist trained in the classic Italian tradition.
SUMMER SESSION THREE 2020
August 17-23, 2020
with Staff Instructors
In this class, we explore all that goes into planning and executing a stone carving. Appropriate for beginner to advanced carvers. Topics covered include: stone selection, safety, how to begin a carving, measuring techniques, tool selection, care and use of tools, splitting techniques, texturing, polishing, lettering, gold leafing, moving heavy objects, setting up a studio.
For more information, please contact Mark Saxe at (505) 579-9179 or email.
© 2020 Southwest Stoneworks, LLC.