Unique, custom, quality materials of both wood and stone, are one of the distinctions of my work. Not only do I get to go out into the canyons hunting wood, but I also hunt specific colors, shapes, and textures of alabaster.
The best and most challenging source of unique stone is found and some of the many alabaster caves that wind beneath the surface of the ranch I am privileged to hunt upon. Over the centuries, water has carved tunnels through the multi-layered deposits of alabaster, leaving its signature on the stone in the form of dimpled textures and delicate shapes. Also, since the temperature of the caves is always above freezing, the integrity of the stone is maintained, allowing for delicate forms and a high polish. Surface alabaster can absorb water and freeze, often weakening and weathering the stone into a chalky mass.
Alabaster and Crystaline Alabaster on Black Mesquite
L 10 x W 20 x H 21 in
Dimpled texture on alabaster cave walls.
One of many passages.
Since the deposits of alabaster in the canyons are quite large and widespread, there are a variety of colors available. Stones range from clear crystalline selenite, (a pure form of calcium carbonate or alabaster),to reds, purples, gold and orange even some green deposits. The Bronzestone melds that I produce are made possible and enhanced by the many surface textures and color variations within the individual stones, making each sculpture a truly one-of-a-kind work of art.
Most of the multi-layered caves have branching passages with low ceilings, which make carrying the heavy stone a rather slow, difficult, backbreaking experience. Between icy pools of water guarded by slick red mud, ledges and drop-offs and plenty of twists and turns, it is not all that difficult to get turned around and even lost. Especially when night falls and the exit appears to be just one more branch of the cave. The only certain way to tell it is an exit is the presence of multiple black widow nest that cover your escape.
All in all, each trip is a great adventure and the reason most of the stone I secure carries a fairly high “freight bill.”
Other stone that I find is located in deep narrow gyp canyons, as the ranchers call them.
Working my way from an accessible point downstream, I am able to follow the trail of different colored stones upstream to their source. The different colored veins of stone are exposed by the occasional walls of water that rush through the normally dry canyons during downpours. There, at the source, the stone is usually not very weathered and often boasts a beautiful texture.
It’s still a difficult hike carrying the stone back to a road and still very well worth the effort.
West Texas Juniper and Alabaster
H 21 in
Carrying A Piece of Alabaster Out of the cave.