Pietrasanta, Italy

Some of the many sculptures throughout the town.

Last year I returned from a month’s sculpting residency in Pietrasanta, a vibrant artistic centre in the beautiful north-western Italian province of Tuscany. Close by are the famed marble quarries of Carrara, which have been worked for over 2000 years, the source of stone for Etruscan and Roman masons and sculptors.

Pietrasanta came into being in medieval times, and since then has attracted sculptors seeking the special high-grade white and blue-grey marble. Michelangelo spent a frustrating time there, trying to bring the chosen blocks down from the mountains, but was thwarted by breakages in equipment, and fraud by would-be carriers, and in the end, his patron withdrew his commission, and Michelangelo left empty-handed.

Luckily that has not been the experience of modern sculptors, who each summer come from all over the world to work in the several studios dotted throughout the town. I was thoroughly energised and enthused by the vibe of Pietrasanta, it is such a marble-working centre.

There are sculptures found throughout the town, and constant exhibitions in the central piazza.

I was drawn to work in Pietrasanta for the opportunity to work with the famous Carrara marble, and found it be a beautiful stone, very sensitive to the touch of the artist. Also, of course, the opportunity to work alongside sculptors from many different countries and traditions created a great synergy of skills and knowledge.

After my month’s residency, I returned to Bathurst with a partly completed sculpture, a boxful of beautiful Carrara marble, increased skills and a head buzzing with ideas.

A sculpture being installed for an exhibition in the central piazza..

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