“I always find that you have to be a bit mad to become a stone carver,”  Anna Rubincam explains. “… why would you go into a profession that is expensive and takes a lot of time and the material is heavy and it’s hard to move?… But I always find that the answer to that question is always that there just wasn’t any, any other option. Once the idea of becoming a stone carver comes into your head, then you just have to find some way of doing it.”

This drive and determination is on display in a new short film called A Continuous Shape. They team from Eyes & Ears spent three weeks with Rubincam, a contemporary stone carver. They followed her work on one project, a portrait, from start to finish. It provides a rare insight into the mind of the artist.

The process starts with a sketch and working with a live model, finding all the necessary angles and measurements. And then there is the clay, malleable and disposable, easy to scrap and start over. But this is in sharp contrast to the stone itself. The film captures the joy and challenges of working with something straight from the earth. Interestingly there are no rules, the artist relies on instinct and ability to translate their vision into their hands with a only perfectly sharpened chisel. It’s elusive, it’s mesmerizing, and it’s intensely satisfying to watch the transformation unfold. And there are difficulties that you would have never thought of– from dealing with the continuous nature of skin to pushing the material to its limits.

Listening to Rubincam talk about her experience and journey is well worth your time. You can see the whole video here:

It’s an art form that is less common today, but it’s so enchanting to watch. If Rubincam is a bit mad, there’s genius there too. And we all get to benefit.