From my inventor father I learned to love tools and build things — shelves, tree houses. My musician mother gave me a love of nature and gardening. Losing both of them when I was 15 forced a profound inner collapse, followed by a maverick spirit of curiosity. I managed to get through college, work in a variety of fields, live in a Zen Buddhist community and take a Master’s Degree in counseling. Then there was a marriage, two daughters and a wild foray into trying to establish a vineyard in NH, followed by collapse and painful divorce. After this, at age 40 I went to art school and settled into a new routine that helped contain my lifelong restlessness. Like an ancient herdsman I migrated between sunny winters in Arizona, spring and fall by a wood stove in NH and dizzying art summers on Cape Cod.
Then in 2005 early stage breast cancer changed everything again. I gave up traveling to the east, summer teaching on the Cape, long weeks in NH, and plunged into a new medium in my Tucson backyard: clay. It didn’t take long for me to discover my heart wasn’t in becoming a potter. The clay work became sculptural. I made animals and masks, and started doing mosaics, firing my own tiles and shapes in two kilns. Large wall mosaics absorbed me for several years. But eventually stone, my first love, reappeared and it has stayed with me; although the scale has changed, due to my age and the sheer weight of the medium. The work is small, intimate, handheld.
When my older daughter recently announced her pregnancy and her desire to have a grandmother close by, I sold my AZ house and moved back to NH, with the proviso of winters back in Tucson. In recent years, I have become more accepting of these abrupt changes. So has begun again a whole new era of carving, teaching and showing in the east. I am proud to be a juried member of the NH Art Association, the New England Sculptors Association, as well as the League of NH Craftsmen.
Care & Handling of Stone
Most of my stonework nowadays is in soft stones – talc, soapstone, steatite, alabaster. This means that it will scratch easily. In fact the definition of Level One on the Moh (hardness) scale is that it can be scratched by a thumbnail. I have chosen to work and teach in these soft stones because they are less difficult to carve and can still be brought up to a high polish if desired. I have taught countless chip carving workshops, and polishing is one of the first things I ask students to do.
What does this mean for the new owner of a soft stone sculpture? It means you need to handle it with care. When you lift it, carry it in a soft cloth without pressing the piece against your belt buckle, shirt buttons, hand and wrist jewelry or neckwear. Once I had a gallery owner indignantly inform me that I had delivered a scratched piece, which I am very meticulous about not doing. On inspection, I showed him where his neck bling had scratched the piece as he carried it hugged close to his chest. I re-polished the piece (and charged him for it).
Once the piece is in its display space, you may dust it carefully with a soft cloth. Minor scratches can be filled in with any common household wax polish, floor or furniture or even clear shoe polish. I use a tin of bowling alley wax in finishing my sculptures. And of course, keep these little pieces away from small children!
Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery
Portsmouth NH 03801
League of NH Craftsmen
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New Hampshire Art Association
New England Sculptors Association