Q & A Friday: Clay to Stone

One of the most frequently asked questions I get in the studio is “how do you get this from clay to stone?” It’s a long answer that usually involves me getting out a diagram, an Italian stone carver, and a math textbook to explain it all. So, I thought that I would try to explain it here…

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How the Studio Got Done, Part I

After nearly a year of searching for a studio in town, I finally decided to work in my own back yard. I have a small cottage with an even smaller one-car garage. Well, it was a one car garage back when cars could fit in a ten-foot wide space. Even my compact Mazda 5 can…

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Gathering and Building

My father is coming out to Pennsylvania this weekend to help me transform an old, ugly garage into a fancy, new studio. We have to secure the foundation, move support beams on the trusses, add more outlets, install two windows and a door, insulate, drywall on the ceiling and paneling on the walls, trim it out, install…

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One Shovelful at a Time

Reprinted from my old blog, Nine Tons of Marble, on May 9, 2009. My uncle tells this beautiful parable about achieving a monumental task. Many years ago, he and his young son had to lay a sewer line in the back yard. They had to dig a forty-foot trench by hand, too poor to afford…

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part IV

The following is a reprint of an article that I wrote for Lutheran Forum Magazine, Winter 2007. It has appeared here in several parts. Read PartI, Part II, and Part III first. This is the final installment. When I was a child, I thought that art was superfluous in the church: mere decoration, a distraction from worship.…

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part III

The following is a reprint of an article that I wrote for Lutheran Forum Magazine, Winter 2007. It will appear here in several parts. Read Part I and Part II first. With the Virgin Mary out of the studio, I began work on St. Joseph. Initially, finding imagery for St. Joseph was difficult. He is mentioned a mere seven…

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Placeless

I am a person who talks a great deal about Place. Perhaps I’ve read too many Wendell Berry books. Or perhaps I’m on my fifteenth address in thirty-four years. I am placeless. My studio follows my same pattern. I moved into my first outside-of-school studio in 2001 in Frederick, Maryland. It was a tiny space…

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part II

The following is a reprint of an article that I wrote for Lutheran Forum Magazine, Winter 2007. It will appear here in several parts. Read Part I first. From May 2001 until the following May, we created fourteen four-foot by two-foot multifigure composition bas-reliefs. We collaborated on the design as a whole so that we would have…

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part I

The following is a reprint of an article that I wrote for Lutheran Forum Magazine, Winter 2007. It will appear here in several parts. The image came to me rather unexpectedly.  I was on an airplane midway between Oslo and Reykjavik, on my way home after spending two glorious weeks visiting a friend in Norway. …

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The Work at Hand

Currently, at the studio the major work that is happening is a commission for a church south of Pittsburgh. The parish is condensing its ethnic parishes into one congregation, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, after the first American born saint. To honor the heritage of the parishes in the consolidation, five saints will be placed…

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