By Emily Cutts | Correspondent.
WEST RUTLAND — Paty Sonville is described as an athlete in her field. She travels the world leaving massive sculptures in her wake.
“Paty is unusual,” said Carol Driscoll, executive director of the Carving Studio & Sculpture Center. “She does monumental work … Like an athlete, do your training, get your rest, work nonstop and at the end celebrate. That’s her passion.”
Sonville arrived at the Carving Studio & Sculpture Center July 5. She will spend a month there working on her sculptures as an artist-in-residence.
Friday afternoon, under a white tent providing a little shade from the hot sun, she worked with her piece of marble, chipping away to turn an idea into a reality.
Her current piece had yet to be named, but she described the idea behind it as two people attached, close but also apart.
“The contrast of something smooth and strong at the same time,” she explained.
Sonville admits this piece is smaller than her usual work, but said she will see if something bigger is yet to come.
At the Carving Studio, Sonville is able to work with marble, something she doesn’t get to do in her Brussels studio.
“In my studio, I cannot work with stone. Usually I work with metal,” she said.
The noise and the dust associated with working with stone isn’t allowed, she said. Occasionally she visits a blue stone quarry in Belgium to do some work.
“For me, residency is a time to search for new ideas,” Sonville said. “I want to be far from my house and focus only on my work.”
At the studio, Sonville is surrounded by other artists.
“[We’re] creating an environment where everyone is creating,” Driscoll said. “It’s really a chance for an exchange of knowledge, an exchange of viewpoints and an exchange of techniques.”
Since the studio’s conception nearly three decades ago, world-class artists have been coming here to work on their pieces.
“We’ve had all sort of things and always had international flavor,” founder B. Amore said. “I think what is really quite extraordinary, is the very generous environment — sharing information and knowledge. We have world-class artists rubbing shoulders with students.”
Artists-in-residence are selected by the artist advisory committee. The 13-member committee of artists from the region judge applicants on various factors, including the quality of their work.
“I like her aesthetic,” committee member Bart Uchida said. “I felt that of all the artists that submitted proposals, her background and ideas were the strongest.”
Sonville studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels and was awarded the Prize of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Fine Arts in 2001. She has pieces displayed across the world in Spain, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Korea and the Netherlands.