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2023 Digital Stone Carving Residency

A month of carving Tuscan stone in Apuan Alps. A robot roughs cuts your piece and your hands do the rest.

Application Deadline: January 20th

Info

Each year, the Digital Stone Project and Garfagnana Innovazione work together to bring an international cohort of artists, architects, designers, educators and students to the historic Garfagnana region of Italy. While in Italy, participants gain experience working with high technology and ancient Tuscan stone. During the month-long Residency, participants are giving the opportunity to produce work carved using a combination of robotic manufacturing technologies and traditional hand-carving tools.

Our partner, Garfagnana Innovazione, offers participants a unique opportunity to employ the latest innovations in digital stone carving. As an incubator of new techniques, the Residency provides a wide range of professional development opportunities focused on technology and materials.

June 3rd
to
July 2nd

Process

Work with our robot programming team to robotically carve your 3d design

With 5 different milling robots and hundreds of cutting accessories at our disposal, almost any shape is achievable

Material

Choose from a wide variety of beautiful marble types quarried locally in the Apuan Alps

Location

The residency takes place in Gramolazzo, a small town in the province of Lucca, Italy.

Guided tours of Lucca, Pietrasanta, Florence, and other destinations are included throughout the residency

Details

RESIDENCY INCLUDES:
  • 27 nights hotel accommodation in Gramolazzo (breakfast included).
  • 22 Lunches
  • 24 Dinners
  • Transportation from Pisa International Airport to Gramolazzo.
  • Guided day-trip tours of Lucca, Pietrasanta and Florence
  • Transportation for guided tours of Lucca, Pietrasanta, Florence, and other destinations.
  • Guided tour of Focolaccia Quarry (Lunch included).
  • A block of marble for the realization of your project. The scale of blocks are negotiated each year based on availability, individual artists’ needs, and sponsorship. (Requests for larger blocks and a-typical stone varieties will be considered. Typically, such requests require additional expenditure by the artist).
  • Supplies, tools, and basic stone-carving equipment for carving, finishing, and completing your work.
  • Access to meeting space, internet, and computers in the Garfagnana Innovazione facility.
  • Support from an experienced stone carver and a laboratory technician for the duration of the residency.
  • 25 hours of CNC milling time (extra hours will be calculated € 70/h, to be paid upon arrival).
  • A conference, exhibition catalog, and curated group exhibition hosted in a gallery or cultural institution in Tuscany.

Fee Structure

PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS, DESIGNERS & ARCHITECTS

€ 6,700.00 (Single room)

FACULTY MENTORING PARTICIPATING STUDENTS:

€ 5,700.00 (Single room)

STUDENTS:

€ 5,500.00 (Single room)

€ 5,100.00 (Double room)

€ 4,800.00 (Triple room)

2023 Digital Stone Residency:
Applications Currently Closed

FAQ

GENERAL QUESTIONS

WHERE IS GARFAGNANA?

Garfagnana is a region located in the northern part of Tuscany, Italy, where the gentle hills, well known for thier wonderful wine, turn into the Apuan Alps. The Apuan Alps, since ancient times, have provided the marble for such beautiful works as Michelangelo's David. Garfagnana Innovazione is exactly in Gramolazzo, a small town on the lakeside of the homonymous lake, right in the middle of the Apuan Alps. Check it out on GoogleMaps! (street view at the bottom of this page) GPSCoordinates: 44.162017, 10.23768

WHAT IS GARFAGNANA INNOVAZIONE?

Garfagnana Innovazione is a company, born 14 years ago, with the aim to bring back the marble industry in an area with high unemployment. 40 years ago Garfagnana had more than a thousand workers in the stone industry, and today only a few dozen. Visit the Garfagnana Innovazione website for more information.

EVERYBODY LOVES THIS GABRIEL PERSON, WHO IS HE?

Gabriel Ferri is the BEST robot technologist in the entire galaxy. He is a friend, he is your ally, he is the man between you and the robot carving your work, you will be invited to attend a one hour webinar for an overview regarding file prep etc. Additionally you will have a one on one remote dialogue/desktop milling simulation to understand robotic milling strategies.

WILL WORK BE SHOWN IN ANY EXHIBITIONS?

This year this exhibition will be held at The Museum of sculpture and Architecture in Pietrasanta in conjunction with a conference. More details soon.


HOW DO I GET THE WORK BACK HOME?

Garfagnana Innovazione and Digital Stone Project will try to coordinate a group shipment of the work from Garfagnana to the East Coast USA. Shipping as a group saves money, but the cost is not included with the residency. Details on this later. Individual shipments are coordinated with Garfagnana Innovazione directly.


WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WILL HAVE DEVELOPED A PROPOSAL FOR PARTICIPATION AND EXPLORED VAIOUS 3D DESIGN PLATFORMS TO GENERATE YOUR 3D MODELS

STONE

How big is my block? Where is the stone from? Do I have options about the type of stoneI use?

All the marble blocks used in the residency are donated by different quarries of the area (Consorzio Marmi Garfagnana: a consortium with 8quarries) One of the quarries, Cave Focolaccia, you will visit during the residency.

There isn't a standard size. Consider a parallelepiped with sides from 50cm to 80cm. Gabriel will usually scale the model to fit the block if the artist doesn't have any specific size that is smaller than the block.The model will be scaled to get the largest sculpture given the block available.This process happens through a remote dialogue with robot technologists as Garfagnana makes the work. If you have concerns regarding scaling and the size of the finished work please coordinate with and in advance of your one on one session with the robot tech. 

The artist who wants/needs a bigger block should ask for a quote when in dialogue with Gabriel, robot technologist. This is an added cost and for logistical reasons not available for students.

The 8 quarries of the consortium have different marbles, the choice will be from the availability at the time of milling. The marble will be a local marble with white/light gray background and some gray veins.

Stone types include: Acqua Bianco, Bianco Piastramarina, Bardiglio Imperiale.


So I finish it by hand, how long will that take?

At most one month. :)

MILLING:

How do you mill something as hard as rock?

With tools harder than the rock such as the diamond tools.

Tools to use on my project?

You have to specify how you want the final surface, then carving techs will advise you on the best tools to use. Air chisels, grinders, polishers, pencil grinders and multi grit abrasives are provided. Additionally a tool supplier visits the work site once a week.

How much machine time do I get?

The milling time for each participant is a max 25hrs. The artist who wants/needs more hours should ask for a quotation, that is extra and not included in the residency costs (not available for students).

How much detail will I get from my allotted milling time?

It's very hard to say, depends on the model and the size. This question can be discussed when you meet remotely with Gabriel, robot technologist…

How can I save time?

- Narrow spaces and thin parts are difficult to work and consume a lot of time, try to avoid them.
- Flat surfaces save time, relief carving consumes a lot of time.
- Imagine a box that entirely contain your sculpture, then focus the empty space inside the box not occupied by your sculpture, yes... that's all the material the robot have to remove to realize your sculpture, it consumes a lot of time.
- Smaller details require finer tool passes to render, this consumes more time.

How many milling simulations will GI do for me, so I can see the results of different strategies and level of detail?

Usually just one. When the artist needs special strategies we'll start a communication to show the alternatives and better understand what each participants is hoping to achieve.

How do I know if something is an undercut or will cause collision?

Imagine you are carving the sculpture with your arms (you can't do crazy yoga poses or lay on the ground), the zones you cannot reach or are slightly difficult to reach with your arms are also off limits for the robot.Moreover, keep In mind the size of the robot arm. If you have questions about undercuts email a model and photographs of your project to the Gabriel robotic technologist about the area/form in question.

Does my sculpture have to have a base built in?

No, but consider we need a base to work it on the machine and you'll need a stable area to rest the sculpture on while for hand finishing.

I want to mill the bottom and the top/sides, can I do that?

Yes. Consider that to mill the bottom we usually need to move/rotate the sculpture and then register it. Also, the above considerations will still apply.

What is the general milling strategy?

Milling begins with roughing and ends with finishing. The first roughing pass is generally done with a saw blade. The saw cuts to depth outside your model surface. Slices are made into the stone approx. every 20 mm and knocked off by a hammer. This leaves a very rough surface. In some instances a diamond core drill will be used to remove large amounts of material in a similar way.  A 2nd roughing pass is done with a large diamond tool about the size of hockey puck. Again the pass cuts to a depth a few mm from the sculpture's final surface. Then smaller tools are successively used to mill away the remaining stone. Tools can only cut to certain depth depending on their size, because of the high loads required to mill stone. The smaller the tip of the tool the less material it is physically able to remove and the slower the machine must move to prevent overloading and breaking the tool. 

Past Exhibitions

2022
2019
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2013

Residency Location

About Us

Mission

The Digital Stone Project bridges art and technology by creating new opportunities for artists to engage in state-of-the-art digital tools for the realization of innovative works of art in stone.

Our Work

Stone Carving Residency

Each year, the Digital Stone Project and Garfagnana Innovazione work together to bring an international cohort of artists, architects, designers, educators and students to the historic Garfagnana region of Italy. While in Italy, participants gain experience working with high technology and ancient Tuscan stone. During the month-long Residency, participants are giving the opportunity to produce work carved using a combination of robotic manufacturing technologies and traditional hand-carving tools. Our partner, Garfagnana Innovazione, offers participants a unique opportunity to employ the latest innovations in digital stone carving. As an incubator of new techniques, the Residency provides a wide range of professional development opportunities focused on technology and materials.

Exhibitions and Events

As part of our annual Digital Stone Carving Residency, the DSP organizes and mounts group exhibitions highlighting the work of Residency participants. Additionally, the DSP regularly organizes international symposia, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions which share the work and research of artists engaged with technology and stone.


History

The Digital Stone Project was founded in 2005 by sculptors who wanted to create a new way of working in stone by leveraging the burgeoning digital technologies. The board is made up of pioneers who have been working with digital media in sculpture for 25 years. The Digital Stone Project has a partnership with the Garfagnana Innovazione located in Tuscany. Garfagnana Innovazione is a state-of-the-art technology center equipped with robotic stone cutting equipment and access to the best sculptural marble in the world. We aim to organize and support residencies for artists to travel to Garfagnana and create new works of art in stone. Our goal is to create a sustainable annual Residency, an annual exhibition schedule, and grow a network of artists working with stone both digitally and traditionally. Saluti!

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