“Sculpture, from the Latin word meaning to carve, is an ancient art form, allowing for the expression of human ideas in three dimensions. People were carving stone with their hands long before they were using them to record language. A powerful conveyor of thoughts and beliefs, sculpture remains a prominent art form today, and in a world where new materials and technological advances have expanded the boundaries of the medium, Jyl Bonaguro remains true to traditional methods and techniques, looking to classical antiquity and its Renaissance rebirth as a source of inspiration.”
Leslie M. Scattone, Art Historian & Curator
About Hammer & Stone
Steeped in the classical tradition but with a modern sensibility, my book Hammer & Stone utilizes photography and poetry to demonstrate techniques for carving marble. From breathtaking views of marble quarries in Italy to chiseling in the studio, my realism based sculptures of wings and female figures like Modern Athena reveal the art of stone carving. Techniques for Sketching, Modeling, Blocking, Shaping, Detailing, Finishing, Painting, and Recycling stone are covered in this 76 page publication. It features a curatorial introduction by Art Historian & Curator Leslie Scattone and Photography by Tuan H Bui, Maggie Iribarren – Motion Filmworks, Joseph Kayne, Lukas Keapproth – Loyola University Chicago, Rod Pickett, William Pissios and Simon Rubinstein and was created through the support of Evanston Art Center.
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Hammer & Stone Excerpts
As an art form, stone sculpture is more often than not only associated with Ancient Greece and the Italian Renaissance. Modern day stone sculpture is largely absent in the current art world. A few stone sculptures are seen at art fairs, but the selection is limited when compared to other mediums like glass and steel. Considering the inherent beauty of stone, it’s difficult to understand why steel and glass dominate the market, especially due to their high carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of stone is much lower, but there are environmental effects like soil erosion. Glass, steel and stone can all seem like infinite resources, but a stone like marble is finite. Tons are removed daily from marble mountains around the world and eventually stone quarrying production of marble will cease due to lack of supply. So as a modern sculptor, I work within the complicated confines of being aware of environmental effects and yet needing to create my work.
In my practice, I do use electric tools like diamond saws and drills, especially during blocking stages. However, today most stone sculptors use pneumatic hammers instead of manual hammers. This tool effectively hammers and chisels simultaneously and has been in use since the beginning of the 20th century. The sound of it is deafening. There is also the possibility of permanent damage to blood vessels, nerves and muscles in the hand and arm due to the constant vibration. For myself, especially in small scale works, I avoid using them altogether. Part of the appeal of manual tools for me is strength building and dexterity. As a former athlete, I was used to training and pushing myself physically, and carving has become my way of welding my athleticism with my art.
As a stone sculptor
I have only borrowed a piece of the earth.
Someday… it shall be returned
Sculptor & Playwright