Posted on May 26, 2017
Stone carver of curves and squiggles in Indian granite and marble
As we prepare for the Out of Nature 2017 sculpture exhibition, we're excited to meet the sculptors and preview the work they'll be showing here. Mark Stonestreet is a new artist at Out Of Nature this year.
Mark made a slight detour on his way to the Scilly Isles yesterday from his home near Brighton and came to visit us at Newport House. He showed us pictures of his work in progress – all curves, squiggles and light humour. We can’t wait to see the pieces in the flesh!
Mark used to sit at a computer for 14 hours a day as a web designer. He decided 14 years ago that ‘following the money’ actually cost him a lot in quality of life. He decided to travel around the world to learn a trade where he could be more physical: stone carving. His first stop was Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu, India, and he never went further than the small but vibrant fishing and stone carving town.
Mark now lives in India during the coldest months of the year – focusing completely on his carving when he’s there – and the rest of the year in England. His UK workshop is sited in a 17-acre piece of unspoilt greenery outside Brighton, and he shares it with other people, including the Stanmer Centre for Ecotherapy. The centre ‘aims to improve and maintain wellbeing through the use of nature-based and horticultural therapies, mindfulness and practical activities’.
It is indeed close in spirit and action to The Cart Shed, the charity that is at the centre of Out Of Nature. We took Mark for an afternoon visit to the Cart Shed site in the woods at Newport House for a cup of tea, a chat, and some soaking in of the sunny and serene atmosphere.
Mark is also familiar with one group who are part of The Cart Shed’s client base – war veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He has mentored war veterans through stone carving; and his father was in the army and is the local representative for SSAFA (a UK charity providing welfare and support for those serving in the armed forces, veterans and armed forces families).
When he gets back home, Mark has pieces to finish off, as well as no less than 20 tonnes of granite waiting to be worked on – and I thought I had a lot on my plate! While in India it is 15 tonnes of Rajasthan granite waiting for him, and 15 tonnes of Rajasthan marble that he bought on the back of a very successful show at On Form, the stone sculpture exhibition in Oxfordshire, last year. The stone was transported across India by lorry over five days, at half what it would have cost if he’d bought it in England. He hopes this will be enough carving material for the next few years.
For more information about Mark Stonestreet please visit: www.mstonestreet.com
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