Bulldozer getting 6' pieces.

Gordon working at studio.

Carrara studio on right side.
Nine Months In Italy With Sculpture and Drawing
By Gordon Punt, MFA

August 3, 1984
Two Six Foot Marble Rocks Delivered to My Studio

Today was very exciting because I had two six foot marble pieces delivered to my studio. The other amazing thing was that they were virtually free! Janos lives right next door to Agostino's small marble quarry and knows him quite well. Agostino must have about seventy-five six to eight foot tall chunks of "marmo" that he does not want because of cracks, and he offered Janos many of these free to build a wall between them to keep the quarry rubble away from Jano's house. Because of this Janos assured me that I could get one of those chunks free, or possibly for a jug of wine. He was right, because several days ago I went up the mountain in the old Vespa to ask Agostino that very thing. One day earlier I spent two wonderful hours looking around and climbing over all the fantastic, but cracked, pieces of marble. I picked out two chunks that would suit my need to latter get Jano's opinion on which one I should ask for.

The next morning at eight o'clock A.M. I putted back up the hill, this time with Dionisio (my 19 year old Italian friend), to meet Janos and go over to ask Agostino's permission. He was very friendly, spoke a little English, because of six years in Australia, and agreed to let me have a block free, after Janos explained that I was a student studying with him and that I had little money. He then showed us a spot at his quarry where the Romans had left there mark some nineteen hundred years ago. He pointed out the AD letters that they had carved into a cliff, some twenty feet above us, and a date that had been scratched out. Under the inscription was a three foot example of how the Romans mined the marble. We saw how they first dug a trough along the top of a piece of marble attached to the mountain, using a pickax, and went down about six inches. They would then force in dry wooden wedges along this line and then soak them with water. When the wood expended it would crack the marble and off it would come, tumbling to the ground. Today the quarries use steel cables imbedded with diamonds that are pulled back and forth, lubricated by water, slicing down the marble wall to the depth they desire. Dynamite is also used in tough places.

After the "Romans" we all went to check out the marble pieces I had picked out and see if there was enough good stone to be left after I would force the bad cracks open to get at the good stuff. Both stones were good and Janos told me later that I should take both rocks because they were both available for the same price! The pay out turned out to be, as Janos had guessed, a bottle of wine and twenty thousand lira (only twelve dollars), for the bull
dozer driver.

The next step was to get a dump truck and driver to deliver the marble to my studio. I had originally planned on having Losi (Lotzi), do my hauling because he was a friend of Robert Gove's, my friend and teacher in California who I am renting this studio from. Losi also owed me a favor for hand carrying a cowboy hat over for him as a gift from Robert, which was no small effort on my part. But it turns out that Losi is not very dependable and Janos knew Geno who was reasonably priced and supposedly very punctual. After two days Janos finally called Geno who agreed to meet us at Janos' house at eight o'clock the next morning, Friday. I was relieved and looked forward to the coming morning. At seven-thirty I was at Jano's house where we waited not until eight, but until eleven o'clock when Geno finally arrived, as is the Italian custom. My two marble blocks were loaded on to the dump truck and I gave Agostino a bottle of brandy and about twelve dollars for his time with the bulldozer. He told me anytime I wanted more marble I could have it free, unless it was of some value to him, and we left. Geno followed me down the mountain, I in Robert's Vespa (motorbike), that must be the oldest operating one in town, and I took him to my studio. Geno only charged me about thirty dollars for the hauling, so all in all I only paid around fifty dollars for eight tons of marble, delivered! Four years ago in California I paid seventy-five dollars for one cubic foot of Carrara marble.

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