The Natural Stone Institute once again bestowed its yearly award for outstanding works in natural stone
„Never before in my forty years in this industry have I seen anything as creative“ was the comment of a member of the jury when describing the award-winning entry of this year’s Pinnacle Awards. The award is bestowed every year by the US-American Natural Stone Institute (NSI). The object of praise is a sculpture by the name of „Aura“, carved from a single marble block by Mario & Stone Stonemasons , Liberty Lake, WA. „This is the type of project that makes one ask: that was done in stone?” he added.
„Aura“ distinguished itself among the 14 contenders in 2018 and took the Grande Pinnacle Award prize.
Starting out with an 8 cubic ft block of Bianco Carrara C Marble weighing in at a half ton. It was carefully examined in Pietrasanta near Carrara to ensure that there were no faults within the block before the 16-month marathon sculpting began.
The sculpture was modeled after a minuscule metal strip contorted to the desired shape. Using modern technology as well as classic craftsmanship the model was scanned and replicated in the desired size using a 3D printer.
Then hammer and chisel came into play and with the help of an age-old reproduction technique, point by point. The image was transferred from the model to the block of stone. As the marble ribbon became thinner, stonemasons working the block switched to a different grinding machine before finally being hand-polished.
The stone became so thin along its edges that it was translucent, giving the sculpture a halo-like appearance, thus the name „Aura“.
Of the half ton block, a mere 80 lbs. remained whereby the total volume was nearly unchanged.
The Pinnacle Awards are bestowed yearly in a variety of categories for outstanding works in natural stone. Submissions are accepted from members of the Natural Stone Institute. But with joint submissions only one need be a member of the NSI. The works must be no older than three years – pre submission.
July 20th is the closing date and the prize is announced at the TISE Trade Fair in Las Vegas in January of the following year.
Note that this was the first work of art to receive the Grande Pinnacle Award.
Brochure with the 2018 award winners
Photos: Natural Stone Institute
(10.04.2019, USA: 04.10.2019)