Susan Zalkind


PROFESSIONAL STATEMENT

We are reviving a rare material and seldom used gemstone that conjures up images of King Tut and Renaissance sculpture.  Alabaster.  We have trekked over seven states to unearth a full palate, prospecting  rare colored stone to create unique and functional forms. 

Because Alabaster has been little used in the last hundred years, traditional tooling was not adequate.  New forms require new tools, and a system for working the stone had to be engineered.  By marrying ancient carving techniques with space age tools a high degree of spontaneity and delicacy with the material has been achieved. 

The creations reflect nature’s simple elegance – its shapes, flowers, rockscapes, colors, faces and figures.  The functional forms – containers, bowls, and lamps invite personal involvement.  The work is a celebration of the materials of the Earth.  We combine Alabasters with other gemstones, rare fossils, mineral specimens, crystals and fine woods.  The medium and the functional aspect of the work make this a most singular art form. 

Transforming raw stone into vessels of beauty is the creative process that engages most of our time.  It is a dialogue between the maker and the piece.  The stone speaks.  When we listen and respond a harmony is created and we sing together.  The resulting pieces speak for themselves – they have a life of their  own.

Selling and promoting the work is the completion of our process.  Just as we have a dialogue with the stone so too do we have one with our patrons.  There happens a trinity between the buyer, the maker, and the piece.  The energy from that exchange is exhilarating and helps to initiate new beginnings.

ARTIST’S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT

I am a wild woman.  I just don’t fit in.  I didn’t ‘fit’ into my fine and refined upper middle class Jewish upbringing although there is an unshakably familiar scent about me reminiscent of that precious time.  After 4 short lived jobs as a young adult I found that I didn’t ‘fit’ into any of the professional environments I was scanning to find myself.  Unable to follow directions it was clear that I was unemployable and had to search inward to find the inspiration that would guide me to happen upon my own individual path.  When I was a child my hands and fingers were my friends.  I perceived them as separate beings who I played with.  They were my friends.  When I started carving wood a warmth emanated out from my hands that approached ‘hot’.  It felt like home, a safe place.  Since then I’ve never left home – I ‘fit’ here.

Alabaster has been gifted to me to fulfill the visions that beckon to be expressed through my hands that celebrate the extravagant beauty and healing quality of the stone – “The Queen of Stones”.  Like a lover I am completely passionate – for over 40 years now – about Alabaster – about unearthing it, about discovering its hidden treasure under rubble piles and on cliff faces, about revealing it’s color palette, translucency and glorious beauty through elegant forms to the world.  It has carved my life story.

PBS did a wonderful feature on my work that can be viewed on the home page of my website www.alabaster.net

Susan Zalkind
PO Box 531   Camp Verde, Arizona 86322
www.alabaster.net   susan@alabaster.net  928-567-2281