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Milestone | Introduction

 

Milestone Live Carve, Edinburgh College of Art, August 2009Milestone Live Carve - Edinburgh College of Art, August 2009

 

Most people who appreciate sculpture only see the finished product.

Milestone was structured so that the public could absorb the specific stages through which a stone passes on its way to a finished sculpture. Through millennia stoneworkers have learned their craft and culture through observation; this is how the knowledge has been transferred and perpetuated.

There has always been a performative aspect of carving stone. In the performance of carving sometimes the energy is broad and forceful, sometimes focused and delicate. The carver orchestrates energy; as the stone evolves, there is a wonderful drama of sequence, revelation, resistance, and epiphany.

Throughout the month, the twelve Milestone carvers interacted with the public, told stories about the process, explained what they were doing, and clarified what other colleagues were doing.

These brief interactions, like little stories, established a personal connection with the visitors. After these brief exchanges and the sculptors returned to work, those visitors could connect more personally to the depth and subtlety of the project. The nature of their watching changed. And so did their understanding when eventually they saw the finished works. Some visitors came back again and again. A few even took medium sized lumps of scrap stone home with them to try their hand.

Milestone was included in the program of the 2009 Edinburgh International Arts Festival. Professor Duncan Macmillan in his review of Milestone in the Scotsman referred to this event as "the longest single performance in Festival history" (The Scotsman, 01/09/2009).


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