"Art is what makes life more important than art." 
                                                             Jean Willy Mestach

The intensive workshops at Studio Golondrina are suitable for all levels of experience. Tutoring is tailored to the individual.

 

Beginners will  develop the confidence and techniques  required to work independently, building knowledge through group discussions, demonstrations and challenging personal projects. 

Experienced sculptors can use the studio to extend existing skills,  work with unfamiliar  types of stone  or develop new ideas in fresh surroundings, calling on the tutor as required.

 

Individual requirements and prep work are discussed prior to attendance. Guest sculptors, if resident, will provide additional guidance and course input.

The maximum number of four sculptors ensures close tutoring and support. The project's small scale balances with the resources of the tiny host village.

                                                

Available  stone includes fine, soft alabaster in a range of colours from the quarries at Quinto de Ebro and Cintruenigo, black marble from Calatarao, white marble from regional quarries, travertine and a range of soft to medium oolitic limestones. Plaster can also be cast and carved. Clay and wax are available for maquette work but the workshops are geared to reductive processes, not modelling.

The workshops cover all aspects of stone working, including health and safety, tool use and care, power tools, stone properties, selecting and moving blocks, roughing out, basing and finishing techniques.

 

The studio operates a rolling intake. There are no fixed start dates and length of stay is negotiable. The working day runs from 9am-6pm with breaks.

Stone sculpture is challenging but exceptionally fulfilling, even addictive. The trick is to work hard but still have energy enough at the end of the day to enjoy the wild surroundings, the hospitality of the village and the company of new friends.

                             

The studio does not operate pneumatic tools or rely on grinders. All stones are worked directly by hand, although power tools are employed for blocking out and polishing. You are welcome to bring your own hand tools but a full range of quality equipment is available.

In addition to learning and expanding practical skills, the studio is the place to  develop and exchange ideas and approaches to sculpture. Work is informed by exploring sculptural form through aesthetic considerations: positive and negative space, surface and texture, light and shadow, volume, mass, balance, dynamism, historical development, innovation and cultural influences. A small library of reference material is available.

                                          

A minimum stay of five days is required, given the demands of working stone. Bear in mind the weight of a finished work! Work can be consigned at reasonable cost but - as precious as a finished work might be - the most important thing is the process of learning and making.


Future plans

Studio Golondrina is a new initiative. Plans include a self-contained apartment for visiting long-stay sculptors, residencies for working sculptors, partnerships and exchanges with other sculpture organisations, exhibitions, land sculpture and symposia at regional quarries.

Tutor and organiser

 

Studio Golondrina is the workspace of sculptor Jon Sait, a qualified teacher and specialist researcher in tribal art (http://paleobree.com). Jon has  run stone sculpture workshops for fifteen years, including projects for offenders, community and advocacy groups, Sustrans, Wiltshire County Council, the Open College of the Arts, schools and adult learners. He ran Bushhammer Sculpture Workshop for five years, an artist-led initiative in Wiltshire that received funding from Arts for Everyone and regional bodies.

 

Alabaster form by Mieke van Grisven

How did we get here?

In July 1998, during a stone carving workshop on a hail-blasted Wiltshire hill ... between lightning bolts... above a howling gale... after B&Q plastic tarps had been torn asunder... after a ton of steel scaffolding had miraculously collapsed without  harm to flesh or stone... the soft voice of a course student was heard to say, "Spain must be nice this time of year."  And so....