How Green is my Marble

Or, how Green is My Marble Sculpture ?

On the Cusp, Rough Block, Colorado Yule Marble Collection Series by Martin Cooney

As a sculptor working in stone I think it legitimate and relevant to reflect from time to time upon the environmental impact brought about by my profession and examine the practices that I employ when creating my sculpture.

Although a mere 22 milles separate Woody Creek and the town of Marvle, as the eagle flies, it takes 50 miles of road to get there, passing through Carbondale along the way. photo: Google Earth

Colorado Yule Marble is quarried 22 miles, as the eagle flies, from my studio in Woody Creek.

See a brief history of Yule Marble here

The quarry is located some four miles along a narrow dirt road outside the remote mountain town of Marble, Colorado.

The actual quarrying operation has come a long way since the early days when, back in the early part of the 20th Century, the quarry actually produced enough top grade white marble so as to serve as the building stone for the Lincoln Memorial.

Of course, the Yule quarry’s yearly output renders it tiny in comparison with the scale of operations of those I visited over in the Carrara region of Italy, as featured in my video Seven Minutes in the Belly of a Carrara Marble Quarry.

Carrara Marble Quarries Carrara Map 5 Google Earth

From what I can gather – from the pristine condition of the Crystal River for instance,   and from what I have heard and seen via many photographs, my impression is that they run a nice tight operation… up there at 9,200 feet.    And in this business a well-run operation means less waste, less pollution and more (percentage-wise) undamaged, structurally sound, slabs of prime quality stone.

To me every piece of marble is a gift not to be squandered.  For contained within every block, slab and boulder hide a host of sculpture just waiting to be set free.  What you see when you look at a rough block of marble is akin to the rind on a cheese.  Just beneath the surface… dig in, and it’s a whole ‘nother story’, as illustrated by my work. We should revere and value it, not seek to crush, blast and reduce it to its core commercial/industrial value.

Please click on a photo to enlarge

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Workshop, Swan Wave, rough block, by MARTIN COONEY

As a Direct Method Reductionist Marble Sculptor I prefer to exploit the properties I perceive to be inherent within the stone, as opposed to utilizing the more traditional method of working out ideas with the aid of a maquette, and then finding a stone of sufficient quality and dimension from which to carve a distinct, preconceived idea.  Consequently I am able to make full use of marble ‘scraps’ – as they are no use to the slabbing industry – with which to create my sculpture.  Thus using material that would otherwise be consigned for use as roadbed, or crushed for industrial use, is transformed into fine art marble sculpture, when traditionally such ‘flawed’ material would never see the light of day, let alone bask under the spotlight of a gallery podium.

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Swan Wave, Hand Carved Marble Bowl in the Rough @

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'Pilgrim', Marble Sculpture by Martin Cooney

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'Pilgrim Ghosts Through The Sculpture Garden'

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Mabel, The Maiden Collection / The Sculpture Garden @


Not only is my marble so very local, but it is also expertly quarried.  And when you consider that, in order to carve marble to the fine degree demanded by my signature Marble Collection Series, I have proven once and for all that much of the rubble and waste, the flawed block and slabs… the inevitable ‘industry waste’…  is indeed ideally suited for the wants and needs of Direct Method Marble Sculptors the world around.

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In memory of the Great Man himself

Constantine Brancusi_4

Constantine Brancusi

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Martin Cooney, Stone Sculptor ALWAYS wears a mask when roughing out - so please, please, please... when we meet, please don't ask

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I don't think I was ever quite the same after this.

“Always Loved Stone”

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How Green is My Marble Sculpture ?

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thanks for visiting

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