Inside Smith and Barber Sculpture Atelier
The other day my friend John Wright called up from Ottawa. His drawing group had lined up a fascinating opportunity. They were going to the Smith and Barber Sculpture Atelier. A local studio specializing in the ancient art of ornamental carving in stone.
Two hours drive to sketch in the workshop of these master craftsmen? Count me in! That, after all, is the whole point of location sketching. To get out and experience new things. To see the world through the lens of drawing.
Sure, I only managed a quick sketch. But at the same time, it was a chance to draw with the folks in Ottawa and meet Phillipe Smith, one of the two lead sculptors. He was more than generous with his time, hanging out as we pillaged his shop, regaling us with stories about his unusual art form. Everything from the dangers of silicosis to the origins of some of the irreplaceable blocks of stone they carve.
I was excited to hear Smith and Barber are also founders of the Canadian Stone Carving Festival – coming up July 10, 11, 12th 2015 in Gatineau QC at the Museum of History. I hope to make it out for that, and get a chance to sketch craftsmen from around the world in action.
I’ve enjoyed sketching ornamental stone sculpture from so many different time periods and places – to now have the chance to step into one of those workshops, well, that’s something worth dropping everything and making happen.
If you’ve had any great sketchbook adventures of your own, leave us a note in the comments. Let’s give people a tour of all the hidden places our pencils have taken us.