This piece is made from a small scrap from a damaged and broken pair of decorative nineteenth-century Italian columns/pedestals. The verde di Prato serpentine was quarried near the town of Prato in Tuscany. It was used in building the local duomo (cathedral), but is perhaps more well known to either visitors to the duomo in Siena or as described by Vasari. It is a fine-grained and responsive carving stone for working with hand tools, but as the quarry played-out at least a century ago carvers rarely get their hands on it nowadays.
I was given the serpentine in the mid-1970s by a building manager who simply told me "they're too heavy to throw into the dumpster." I gratefully accepted and proceeded to carve three of my early stone sculptures out of the largest pieces of the broken columns, but I also worked several of the small scraps into odd little forms that were too small for a singular carving on the scale I worked in those days. The large sculptures sold quickly, but the little carvings gathered dust on a shelf in the studio unmounted and unfinished. They stayed dust-covered for years — until CORNUCOPIA was conceived — when this little carving was cleaned-off and put to good use.
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