The journey from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah to the ancient town of Carrara in Italy was neither short nor direct for Josh Henderson.
But it was guided by passion.
Back in 2009, a college instructor, taken with his drawing skills, suggested he look into the New York Academy of Art.
So he did – and stepped up to painting. Before long, he’d shifted gears again.
“I don’t know what happened,” he says. “I switched – and applied for the Carrara residency.”
Now he’s just gotten back from a two four-year residencies in Italy, sponsored by ABC Worldwide Stone. There, he toured the work of Renaissance masters, explored the legendary quarries and worked in some of the finest marble on the planet.
“Carrara is the home of the Apuan Alps, which is where all of the great Renaissance sculptors procured their materials and honed their craft,” says Jonathan Tibett, owner of ABC Worldwide Stone and board member at the academy.
ABC put together the residency program to allow students the opportunity to travel to Italy and learn classic stone carving techniques with the masters of Carrara.
The Academy then provided space to house a dedicated stone sculpture area at the school, in which a stone sculpting elective is now taught as a part of the regular curriculum. Since 2011, a community of sculptors at the academy has grown, and an interest in stone sculpture is seeing an upswing in interest and stewards.
That includes Henderson, who learned in Italy to use the masters’ tools, including the machinetta de punti, invented in the 18th century by Antonio Canova. “It’s a pointing machine,” he says. “You find three primary points in the stone, and the same primary points on the model, to work one to one – it’s a totally classical method.”
And now it’s back in New York, where 18th and 19th century artisans once flourished.