Binkley Begins Work in Studio in Seravezza, Italy
A big part of Michelle’s and my Intermission Year abroad is for me to once again work under the Tuscan sun in a marble carving studio, this time in Seravezza, Italy. After three months of traveling across the USA, the Atlantic Ocean, the UK, around Scandinavia, touching eastern Europe, Czech, Austria, up and down the “boot” of Italy, and Nice, France, we have had a wonderful time with our two dogs, enjoying great experiences and getting quite a bit of inspiration for me. Check back over my blog posts to see the art I’ve witnessed.
Now its time to get busy with carving! We’ve settled in an apartment in Pietrasanta, Italy for two months and I made arrangements with my friend, Nicolas Bertoux to rent some space in his studio in Seravezza, which is only a 6km bike commute. I’ve worked at Studio SEM in years past, but this time they could not accommodate me at their new facility in Camaiore.
I met Nicolas Bertoux when we were both participants at the inaugural Changsha International Sculpture Symposium in 2014. Nicolas’s studio is huge. He and his wife, Cynthia Sah purchased the facility in 1999 as an old marble slabbing factory. There were 10 gang saws that cut blocks of Carrara white marble into slabs for countertops, table tops and building veneer cladding. They converted it into a marble carving studio with a beautiful art gallery. They now run their Foundation Arkad and produce their beautiful sculptures here.
Not only have the last three months been inspirational for me, but this studio with its generous supply of raw marble and the fantastic sculptures of Nicolas and Cynthia around me, coupled with the vast Carrara quarries within sight behind us here have combined to give me the energy to get me out my 3 year funk. It doesn’t hurt to have the Foundation’s current exhibition, “Cava” in the gallery, with dozens of talented sculptors’ works on display until Oct. 28, 2018.
I was fortunate to secure two commissions from Canadian patrons before we left. These were a perfect warm-up for me for my first week. There is always an adjustment period into new surroundings, but I seem to be adapting well, and I am being welcomed by Nicolas and Cynthia’s staff, both in the office and in the studio. As I cannot bring my entire Vancouver studio with me, I have brought enough tools to only rough out sculptures. My intention is to partially work pieces, then pack and ship them back to Canada and finish them in my new Squamish studio next summer. For my two commissions, my patrons are excited that I am hand selecting the material for them and the genesis of their sculptures will be in Italy.
My first piece is another in my “Rubenesque” series for a North Vancouver patron’s garden:
My next piece is a large rose sculpture for a patron in Squamish for her new home that is just being completed construction:
I’ve completed my first 5 days and these two pieces have been set aside. I’ve chosen more raw blocks of stone to work, and I’ll post again when there is more to write about.
If you are interested in me proposing and beginning a special sculpture for you, please email me and we can begin discussions.
Let me know your thoughts regarding my work here in Italy in the comment section below.