Stone Sculptures

Perryn Butler uses a wide variety of rock from limestone, from the West of England which allows her to make soft curves, up to bluestone, which is so hard that it makes her work in a very different way. It begins as a wild shape, rather than a block. What is within the stone challenges her to reveal it. Bluestone is magical-there must be a reason that ancient man dragged it all the way from Pembrokeshire to Salisbury plain. It is extremely hard granite. With a mineral content that nourishes plants.

Slate, because of its nature of strata, she started to cut rather than carve, and became intrigued by the shapes and shadows and by the sheer beauty of the material. What she learned, from working in slate, feeds back into the stone pieces giving her new avenues to explore.  Perryn has a passion for stone, “it vibrates for me; whether I cut it carve it or wrap it.  She works intuitively, relying upon the subconscious and the stone to guide her. She draws straight onto the stone and works directly, in the tradition of the early 20th century carvers. It often surprises her when she arrives at something completely unplanned and has no idea where it came from. Sometimes she sees it in a wild stone straight away and sometimes it takes longer for her to understand the stone’s message. The feelings weave through the sculpture and connect the skein of ideas. The recurring topics of music, love and war are ultimately driven by the material she works in.

Stone is an extremely ancient material, which has taken millions of years to form and takes a long time to emerge from the sculptor`s hand. When I have carved it, the work becomes timeless, it could be two thousand years old and yet it also looks like it was made yesterday. I sometimes have a feeling when I am working which I call as "Going into the silence" it is a form of deep contemplation, a place that sometimes takes days to find and is hard to come back from. This feeling of serenity is tangible in my work, which is predominantly about connection with others, present or past.

Carving is as old as mankind and just as relevant to life today as it ever was. The joy is that it is difficult, you can`t stick a piece back on and you are always constricted by the size of the block. This calls for ingenuity and a fluidity of expression that does not exist for me in other materials. I use predominantly lime stones like Bath stone from the West of England, because I like the warm colours and I can work it quickly and carve as the thoughts flow to me, so I don`t lose the skein of an idea. I love the texture and the fossils and faults and bits of shell that make you have to constantly change the design, which stops me getting stale or bored. I occasionally carve harder stone, which is crisper and can hold harder edges and has a finer texture, like Bluestone which is Dolorite granite. Some of the pieces have been cast into traditional bronze in limited editions

The Innuit believe that the stone has a spirit and she knows this to be true. She makes real sculpture from the heart and the spirit which will last for millennia.