Posts Tagged ‘Pietrasanta’
'Blackbird' by Sollai Cartwright
'Thought' by Sollai Cartwright
Sollai kissing his 'Woman'

Sollai’s adventures learning to carve in Pietrasanta have led to more studio time up in the mountains on a friend’s farm looking out over magnificent vistas and finally down on the river where he has a small studio. Here he was able to complete the sculptures he had started in Pietrasanta. It is no easy task finishing an artwork. Once you have resolved the idea and the forms it seems tedious to finish the work when all you want to do is get onto the next work, the next act of creation. The labouring in polishing marble is huge, hours and hours going through the grades of honing stone and papers, but herein lie the rewards. There is something about polishing marble and bringing out that special luminosity that brings you more and more in love with it. It seems that the marble is living, light twinkling in all the tiny crystals below the surface. The final result is joyous and feels like a massive achievement, no matter how small the work.

Sollai has completed four really lovely works. They are abstract versions of nature and seem to spring from his own sensitive earthiness. He found inspiration on his treks in the summer through the mountains of the Orrido di Botri, adding little organic finds to his collection of studio ideas. He is a good drawer and his sketches are often the foundation of his work, a part of a long process of a sculpture’s evolution. I have put up three of the sculptures and am waiting on a photo of the fourth.

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Sunday evening we went down to Pietrasanta to deliver Sollai back to his studio after he had a weekend walking in the mountains. Sollai in his usual generous and egalitarian way, invited us for dinner and extended the invitation to friends of ours as well as to Jacob and Jaqueline and her sister who were playing on the beach that day. So 10 of us for a picnic dinner under a canopy of cool vines, around a great long marble table, thousands of mosquitos, citronella burning and the dusk, warm and balmy.

We wandered around the studio and delighted in Sollai’s new work. First time carving and he is natural with stone carving, throwing himself into it and quickly learning the tools, having finished his first small piece in Portuguese Rose marble in three days. His sculpture is a lovely pod like form folding into itself. The colour is beautiful and he is gratified to be told that for a first piece, the Portuguese Rose is very hard.

He spends his days waking up at 6.00, heading down to the beach on his pushbike for a swim before breakfast, a brioche and cappuccino, then hard at it till lunch time, when he stops and makes a pasta that will last all day long for nibbles as well. A bit of a snooze in the hammock, then onto it again till dusk, when he cleans up and heads into Pietrasanta to cruise the galleries and enjoy the long night time passegiata throughout the town.

We think we too will enjoy a passegiata through Pietrasanta that beautiful summer’s evening. The streets are full and the shops are still open even though it is nearly 10.00. It feels wonderful to be in here amongst twirling running children, performers surrounded by dense crowds, the outdoor cafes full in the great piazza, overlooked from above by the arcing town walls. Sculpture everywhere. Exhibitions still with the doors open at 12.00 when we slowly make our way back through the streets to the car to take our young bare foot bohemian back to his pad under the giant Mediterranean pines. Such a spectacle and such a promenade and such a lovely accompaniment to art.

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