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        A year after receiving a B.A. from State University of New York at Oswego in 1974, I was encouraged by my father to go to his hometown, Proctor, Vermont, to learn the art of marble carving, to which he felt I was well suited. As Proctor no longer held opportunities for employment as a marble sculptor or apprentice, I sought work in Barre as a granite carver. I met with the monument designer Al Comi, who sent me to Barre Granite Association., where I learned of the sculptor Frank C Gaylord, who often worked with assistants. After seeing my portfolio, which consisted of drawings, lithographs, etchings, silkscreen prints, woodcuts and a few paintings, Gaylord hired me for a probationary period at $15 a day, and I began the most difficult work I had ever attempted.

Eric Oberg, Sculptor

         Working on Gaylord’s orders for profiles of Jesus and Mary, I learned to carve the niches, rough out the shapes of the heads, polish the details and finish the surfaces, chiseling away the surfaces inadvertently polished on the cheeks and niches. During my apprenticeship, I learned to rough out the sculpture before having the master define the form, and to finish the sculpture without taking the "life" out of the carving. Gradually I learned to carry the roughing-out process further, and also to assume more of the definition towards the finishing, until I could carve acceptable form and go on to finish without correction.

  At the end of my apprenticeship with Gaylord, I had learned how to control vibrating, bouncing, potentially destructive tools allowing me cut precisely any possible detail, and to sharpen and maintain these tools. I had gained an understanding of the nature of the granite and its potential, to model in clay, and to mold and cast these forms in plaster. I had also learned to saw, drill, split, polish, and carve.

Carver Statue While there are many fine craftsmen among Barre’s stonecutters, some of whom have skills many carvers lack, by far the greatest challenge the sculptor faces is "form" - the matter which separates sculptors from stone cutters, sophistication from naiveté, greatness from mediocrity. In order to achieve "form", a good working knowledge of the heads, faces, hands, body, and cloth is necessary in order to make all the parts fit together naturally. At some point one hopes to develop the ability to create beauty and expression in faces, an appearance of awareness - of life. Another point in "form" is the expression of assurance in the carving, so that what the sculptor knows is boldly stated and strongly accented. There is what the Italian sculptors called "cecco", or freshness - knowing what strokes are sufficient and making them forcefully, cleanly, and then letting them be. In all these matters of "form", there is no ultimate achievement in sight. This is the matter of Artistry. There is no final definition of "form"; there is, however, recognition when it is encountered.
(Eric Oberg)

Mailing address: Eric Oberg,  1777 W County Rd, Calais, Vt. 05648 
Phone 802-229-0741

eoberg@gmavt.net or visit us on facebook