When did you first begin working in stone? What does stone offer, both technically and conceptually, that other sculpting media don't?
I started carving in wood and stone in undergraduate school. At first, I didn't like it. But I remember going into the studio to work on my stone and getting into the flow and losing track of time; wood was just a struggle! After earning my BFA, I went to a summer program in Italy and fell further in love with stone carving there; thanks to the heritage of Italy, the mountains of Carrara, and a wonderful carving teacher. Soon after, I was fortunate to be hired as a stone carver at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City. I spent six years there, after training in France for six months, working in Indiana Limestone and honing my skills. I then moved to Indiana to pursue an MFA and to be close to the source of the stone. I love the tools and process of stone carving. Limestone is the best carving stone in North America, in my opinion, and is also the building stone of our country. It is the fabric of many of our landmarks and memorials; containing not only the local and national memories of the monuments themselves, but also a geological memory of where the stone was sourced. Limestone is soft, easy to carve, and has a negligible grain; it can be cut in any direction, allowing form to be the distinctive characteristic of each piece.
What are you currently working on in the studio?
I am working on a series of pieces that will be cast in aluminum. I have an iron and aluminum foundry nearby that I like to go play in and this project gives me an opportunity to do so. I am also working on an experiment to combine cast glass and carved limestone. More on that when it is done!
How does your practice impact your teaching philosophy? And vice versa?
The more I teach, the more it becomes another facet of my artwork. Teaching is a great "day job" and I enjoy creating an artistic experience for another person.
What are you most looking forward to during your time teaching at PenArt?
Turning more people into Limstoners!
How can we find you and your work on social media and the web?
You can find me at Amy Brier Sculpture on Facebook or my website.
Amy will be teaching Stone Carving July 17-21, 2017. Learn more about her workshop here.