Creative Process

155366-R1-17 susan zalkind sculptor alabaster quary california susan zalkind sculpture artist carving orange alabaster from utah Scan 3337 Scan 2858 Scan 2741


The work begins with my love and passion for Alabaster. There’s something about this stone that thrills me to the core and invites me to embark with it upon its adventure. It could be the discovery and variety of its full spectrum colors, it could be how exciting it is to see light filtering through the stone or maybe it’s that I can make it do whatever we want almost as though it were something pliable!

There is definitely something about the energy of Alabaster and it’s ‘draw’ that compels me onward in the face of the intensity of actually lifting the stone to carve it. Alabaster is after all known as “The Queen of Stones” because she’s soft, invites touching, is colorful and translucent. The spirit of each piece begins with the stone. She speaks and I listen.

That I hand gather my materials makes my work even more precious. My favorite days are waking up in the morning, kicking on some rocks out in the pile until one speaks and then entering our carving dialogue with it.   Rather than impose an ideas on the stone I am led in most cases by the shape, color and translucency of the stone itself to bring out its highest beauty.

I further celebrate the Earth’s beauty by combining various fossils, gemstones and desert woods into our pieces. Each finished piece is a feast for the senses, rooted in the Earth, touching ethereal heights! And then rest!

Previously, traditional percussive stone carving tools had been used by others on this stone. My creative and life partner Paul’s abrasive grinding tools changed the paradigm for carving Alabaster allowing the material to express a delicacy and plasticity that had never previously been achieved in the history of art like Roses that look like they’re blowing in the wind. Although we have enjoyed the representation of a few galleries over the years, for the most part in our 37 years we’ve old our own work at quality art shows.

My connection with those of you who fall in love with and purchase my work is strong and inspires us to make more gorgeous pieces for those who will take them home and love them. In fact, the point of sale where we exchange our very best energies is very much a part of our creative process, spurring us all on to new beginnings!