In a small timber frame studio located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, stonecarver Collene Karcher stares at a block of marble.
She picks up a chisel and makes the first cut...
With over 20 years of experience sculpting in a variety of stone including marble, slate, and limestone, she is also one of only a handful of stonecarvers in the United States still practicing the nearly lost art of hand-carved letters in stone with hammer and chisel.
"As a sculptor living in these mountains, I've always been interested in and inspired by the work I saw in tiny local graveyards. I learn something new every time I run my hand over an old grave marker. I have always practiced letter carving alongside my three dimensional work and at some point it began to cross over--letter carving on sculpture, sculpture mixed in with letter carving."
Questioning the order of things and the establishment, Karcher discontinued exhibiting in art shows & galleries in 1994. Instead she opened her studio to the public, with the idea of being a local resource and providing a one on one experience between appreciators and collectors of fine art & the artist. A hermit at heart, her work echoes other contemporary folk artists existing & creating in the margins of our culture.
Since that initial opening 20 years ago, folks from around the country & the world have found their way to her studio, good conversations have ensued, and much has been learned on both sides with visitors often inclined to sit a spell.
Visit a working studio & gallery and receive a personal tour.
Touch some art.
Discover what's involved in the fine art of carving stone.