You might say to yourself that this sounds like a no brainer. Get some sandstone and carve on it. Oh that it were that simple. The quest for the stone I use for my wall art has gone through several stages from selecting each piece individually all the way through coming dangerously close to not having enough of the correct quality of stone for carving. How awful it would be not have anything to carve on. Currently I have a nice and reliable supplier and ended up learning a few things in the process. I have added a few steps in the creation of my work, am now turning out pieces with no thought of running out of the proper stone and have almost an endless supply of shapes and sizes for custom designs.
When I started this grand adventure in the early 1990s I would pick up each piece of stone from the side of the road or where ever I happened to be rafting, backpacking or camping. I was constantly scouring the ground and country side for likely pieces of “canvas”. I never got to see much above ground level and the car’s muffler was perpetually dragging when I returned from trips. This did provide for some very unique and naturally aged pieces of stone but as you can guess not a very steady supply. There came a time when I could no longer keep up with the demand and my back was getting quite worn out especially on the return hike while backpacking. All those rocks in my backpack did not have a positive effect on my camping either. I had to make a change.
At this point I started speaking with local rock and sand companies. Initially I would go to their yards and again hand select pieces out of piles of rock and then purchase it by the pound loading it into the back of my little pick up, a 1989 Ford Ranger. I was able to have a bit better supply but this practice was still quite labor intensive and put quite a bit of wear and tear on the truck. To solve these issues I started custom ordering my pieces by the pallet full and having them delivered to my studio. The draw back to this system is that there are not many people that want a piece of sandstone one half inch thick or less and therefore the pallet inevitably had a lot of stone that was just too thick to be used for my wall art.
It seemed I had hit another barrier in my qwest to find the perfect stone. This is when it hit me. I should contact the quarries directly there are many of them in Colorado and this State actually supplies much of the country with sandstone. After visiting and talking with many quarries I found the perfect group in Lyon’s Colorado, Blue Mountain Stone. I knew the first time I dealt with Blue Mountain that things were going to be alright. We have developed a wonderful relationship and now they actually allow me to travel to the quarry, where they have pallets of rock in all different thickness, and select each individual pallet that I require. It is a secure feeling to know that I will always have plenty of stone to carve.
Ron White, stone carver and entrepreneur, has been carving stone since 1993, and is shown in more than 40 galleries across the US. Prior to beginning his work with stone carving Ron has worked extensively with leather, wood cabinetry and even jewelry. Learn more about Ron White and his work at http://www.derivedfromnature.com.