Binkley Demonstrates Pneumatic Hammer and Chisel in Italy




michael binkley sculptor stone sculpture chisel marble carrara seravezza italy

I’ve been working for 5 weeks now at my friends’ studio in Seravezza, Italy and am pleased that my Muse has returned. One of the key goals of Michelle’s and my year living and working abroad has been fulfilled.

I was asked by my cousin Carly, an elementary school teacher in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada if I would connect with her class of art students via Skype. She is introducing them to stone carving and thought it would be fun to see me working in Italy. Unfortunately, due to scheduling and the time difference, a Skype session was not possible. So I made a video (below) of me working in studio instead.

I’ve learned that the studio has a long history, dating back to the Renaissance. The town of Seravezza was established by Michelangelo when he was commissioned to find new marble quarries to the east and develop a road to transport the marble blocks to the sea for shipping. Nicolas and Cynthia’s studio used to be a trout farm and then became a marble slabbing factory. A devastating flood in Seravezza 1996 closed the factory and the two artists bought it in 1999. They have restored a lot of it and renovated the rest to become the art centre it now is. Their company is called ARTCO and they have developed Fondazione ARKAD that is a well connected platform to promote and encourage the art of stone sculpture both locally and internationally. Currently, they are hosting the exhibition, “Cava.”

I’ve included the sculptures I have begun work on to date in this video and explained the use of the tools I have with me. As it is impossible for me to bring my entire Canadian studio with me in my suitcase, I am only roughing out sculptures here in Italy and I will ship them back to Canada to be completed there next year.

Let me know your thoughts about this video in the comments section below.

32 Responses to “Binkley Demonstrates Pneumatic Hammer and Chisel in Italy”

  1. Donna Simmer

    It’s so fascinating to watch the stone take shape under your skilled hands!

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Donna – Thanks for reading, watching and commenting. Much appreciated!

      Reply
  2. Valentina

    A really good job on this video…I’m sure the students will get inspired. I enjoyed watching it very much.

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Thanks for taking a moment to watch, Valla. I hope Carly’s students like it, too.

      Reply
  3. Mary Mac

    Fabulous! I’ve never seen you carve and to see the studio and your environment was great. Loved it and the Marble Tour.

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Mary, Thanks for taking a moment to write. Glad you like the vids – they take a while to create and upload, so nice to know someone’s (you both) watching…

      Reply
  4. Great video Michael (in particular Michele), what a wonderfully inspiring environment to work. Never forget how fortunate you are to be able to earn your living from such a creative beauty.

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Mick, Thanks for checking in and your kind words. Yes, I count myself blessed. Michelle is great with the camera, no?

      Reply
  5. Sabine Goetz

    Hey Michael &Michelle!
    Grazie for documenting your journey. Super video Michelle! I am fascinated to see your process, and the stunning work environment at ARTCO studio and art centre. Will you be sad to leave? Or are you ready for a change of pace and scenery? Enjoy your travels in France!

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Sabine – its a little sad to be leaving Pietrasanta and my new “family” at ARTCO. But we’re looking forward to the new adventures and my residency this winter.

      Reply
  6. Ofelia Quiaoit

    What an inspiration! Great to know the history of the studio, state of the art facilities & equipment. Video is professional, like the choice of music too.

    Reply
  7. Allison Howard

    Absolutely fascinating video Michael and Michelle. We loved seeing what you are up to in such a magnificent studio and beautiful place. Allison and Dave

    Reply
  8. Goetz Schildt

    Fascinating to see the place. I thought you might be tempted to stay, We look forward to see some of the pieces here. I’ve been biking past you old place frequently the last two years. Now I’m not even sure where it was anymore.

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Thanks for writing, Goetz. Its a little sad leaving Seravezza, as its sort of become a new home, but I’m looking forward to my own new digs in Squamish. And the pending commute isn’t phasing me. As to the old place, before we left, they had left the big trees up, so you could tell where we used to be. I doubt they’ve kept them. The new project will not work with them, so no wonder you are disorientated.

      Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Thanks, Bruce. Its encouraging to know someone’s watching! How’s the Carrara marble?

      Reply
  9. Charmian Moul

    What an inspiring environment to work in. The country side is beautiful. You are making wonderful history with your time off and will be ready and eager to gt back to your own studio in Squamish.

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Thank you, Charmain. You are right – I’ll be bursting by next summer to get the new studio operational. Ciao!

      Reply
  10. Hi Michael,
    What a great educational video. As a fellow artist and trade instructor I have looked at a lot of You Tube videos. Yours is the best I have seen. I look forward to seeing your finished work in Vancouver.

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Thank you, Stuart – that’s very incouraging. We have plans for a series, but not till we get home to Canada in the new studio. For now, it’ll be us in Europe – and hopefully just as entertaining…

      Reply
  11. Wow! Michael• Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to complete this fabulous video of what you are doing in Italy. Your process is fascinating. Keep finding the inspiration you are looking for in this beautiful area. We want to hear more if you travel on, too. Have a great trip! Jean

    Reply
  12. Trudie Carlson

    It’s not just students who are learning from your video…..adults like me did too. What a good concept! Brian and I look forward to hopefully seeing some of the finished product when you’re home.

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Thanks, Trudie. We’ll keep in touch and let you know when the pieces are finsihed…

      Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Trudie – we’ll of course let you know when the pieces are finished so you can see them. Ciao!

      Reply
  13. Kimberly Arnold

    Fantastic video, provided a awonderful walk down memory lane – to a time when I took a marble sculpting course in PietraSanta Italy. A priceless memory and wonderful time of learning and creating. I ended up shipping about 1000lbs of marble back to Canada with my tools. But saddly have not really picked up the air hammer but a few times since. Life intervenes and time passes far to quickly. Thanks for sharing your video and experience. Cheers Kimberly Arnold

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Thanks for your comments, Kimberly. If you are ever interested in rekindling your carving fire, let me know.

      Reply
  14. Rita Harris

    It was good to hear from you, We wondered what would have happened when the new Lower Road went in. We visited your studio display and garden many times.

    Reply
    • Michael Binkley

      Thanks for writing, Rita. When we return to Canada next summer, and get the new studio and gallery up and running, we’ll let you know. It would be good to see you again.

      Reply

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