Stone is much more than just a stone, it is millions of years old incredible creation. Mother Nature created a beautiful treasure in her workshop and waited patiently for us to discover it. It is found everywhere in the world, always in a special colour variation and structure. It has outstanding features. It can be hard and sharp, soft and gentle, warm, snowy white or a sea of colorful colors – always magnificent, unique and timeless. It can be precious marble, simple limestone, proud granite or shy sandstone. Every single one of them is mysterious.

He waited for the man, gave him the first spark of development, offered shelter, allowed him to incorporate images of his beliefs and evidence of his existence into it. It has always been considered the material of artists who have been searching for what is hidden in it for thousands of years. Through generations and generations, knowledge, skills and the love of stone-making are transmitted.

A sculptural details captured in Hotavlje stone

Stone sculpture is a branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions, expressing itself with the volume shapes and bodies we mow. An activity where pieces of coarse natural stone are formed by controlled removal of material. Due to its durability, diversity and magnificent dimensions, stone has been one of the most widely used sculptural materials since the ancient times. Sculptures enrich the space, give it symbolic value, connect art and society, and reflect the time in which they are created.

A saint carved from Hotavlje marble, who protects sailors, miners and soldiers

The sculptor is explorative and curious by nature, always on the lookout for the new. He is interested in the world around him and it is the source of his inspiration. He expresses his emotions, perception of his surroundings and his attitude to the world. For the most part, art has no practical goals, but it has a strong spiritual purpose. Art and beauty do not go hand in hand. Beauty is not a necessary component. Many works of art are not ‘’pretty to look at’’ and it is possible that future generations will judge its aesthetic value in a completely different way.

Sculptor's inspiration trapped in stone

The process begins with the creative power in the imagination, which the sculptor transfers to paper, clay, wax or draws the outline of the statue directly onto the stone. The selection of the stone is key. Sometimes the inspiration is the stone itself, but sometimes the shape in mind leads to the choice of a suitable block of stone with the aim of changing the rough block into the shape of the finished statue.

Sculptor Metod Frlic in making a model out of plaster

When the block is ready for processing, rough carving, the removal of the excess stone with the help of a rock-hammer and a steel tip or point chisel begins first.

Hand finishing of the sculpture with the help of various tools

When the general shape is achieved, other tools begin to be used, e.g. chisel to add texture. The more sophisticated the shape, the more gentle the impact, usually achieved with a wooden hammer. After achieving a general form, the sculpture achieves a more detailed design with different cut-outs and saws. The final stage of the process can be various surface treatments: paving, sandblasting, grinding, brushing, etching and polishing.

The variety of shapes is further enhanced by various surface treatment options

The sculptures can be carved by using an indirect or direct method. The indirect follows exactly the model made of clay, wax, plaster or plastic, which is then copied using a compass, proportional dividers, point device or 3D scanner. The direct method is an intuitive method, with no previous models, mostly by using a rough sketch on paper or in clay.

Stone sculpture is more than just art conditioned by inspiration. It requires a very good knowledge of the stonecutter’s craft as such. Not knowing the stone, the approaches and the techniques can become an insurmountable obstacle for the sculptor, a fear that hinders the artist’s imagination.
This can be time, technology, complexity of form, availability of tools, volume, mass, unfamiliarity with stone, stone block procurement, technological preparation, combining different professions, organizing processes, transportation, installation, etc. Modern times have required new approaches, and the development-oriented stonecutting company Marmor Hotavlje has offered a hand to art and enabled the artist’s inspiration to become a reality.

Modern technology is helpful but it can never replace the sculptor's hand, his inspiration and sense of detail

Marmor Hotavlje is a developing stonecutting company with more than three hundred years of tradition, with a strong team of over 150 employees. They process stone from all over the world. They use and develop state-of-the-art technology that requires highly skilled staff. In spite of modern technology, they retain the classic hand stonemasonry skills from generation to generation. They are aware that the hands of stonemasons are irreplaceable. They have succeeded in achieving a unique combination of modern technology and traditional hand-stonecutting skills with the support of a dedicated technology development team. Due to the experience of the past, they meet the challenges of the present and already lay the technological foundations for the artistic challenges of the future.

The company has helped inspire many sculptors and designers around the world. Particularly special is the collaboration with sculptor Metod Frlic, with whom the company has been collaborating for over thirty years.

Fountain KOITUS, 1989, marble, 700 x 300 x 300 cm, Marmor Hotavlje, Hotavlje

Fountain “LOVE IN THE TIME OF THE CRICKETS” dedicated to the highest birth rate in Slovenia, which is exhibited in the municipality of Gorenja vas - Poljane and biologist Ivan Regn., 2010, marble, granite, stainless steel, water, Gorenje vas

He was born in 1965. In 1989 he graduated in sculpture from Professor Luj Vodopivec at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana. He continued his studies at the ALU and received his master’s degree from the same professor in 1996. He continued his education in Germany at Atelierhaus Worpswede (1995) and in Japan at S-Air, Sapporo Atrist and Residence (2000). He has participated in many solo and group exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad and has received numerous awards for his work. He is recognized for his portrait plastics and numerous public monuments around the world. He is very fond of creating in stone, often giving himself up to experimentation with which he achieves a unique composition of substantive radical messages.

Metod is an artist interested in society and man. He is a good observer first and then excellent in expression. His works are sincere, strict, provocative and piquant. They portray humanity as full of contradictions. They are an uncompromising interpretation not only of the beautiful, but also of the most silent and the oppressed: corruption, hypocrisy, malice, humility … It documents reality, in all its truth, tenderness and brutality. His oeuvre is extensive and varied.

The tool of his excellence is endless curiosity, exploration, deepening in materials and the skills of mastering the materials with which he creates. The stone has been accompanying him since his early days and he is a true stone artisan. He gives freedom to the inspiration, he is not stopped by (technical) obstacles. For large stone projects, many artists stop as they are scared of the execution. Not Metod! There are no obstacles in the stone for him. Fate has made sure that Metod’s path has been intertwined with the path of the stonecutting company Marmor Hotavlje since his birth, and especially with the beginning of his artistic creation. Both with a vision and an unwavering desire to push the boundaries, they found each other and created many stories together.

Metod’s original task is the idea he presents with a sketch or a model. Together with the technology teams of the company he prepares and anticipates everything necessary for implementation. This is where engineers, finders of suitable stone blocks, technologists in various fields come into play because of the need to incorporate light or water effects.

Sculpture with the inclusion of the element of water

All under one roof, all at Marmor Hotavlje. Instructions are prepared so that they are understood by powerful machines and their operators, who “transform” blocks of titanium dimensions into shapes that would require months or years of manual processing. Technology in high-end stonemasonry is a tool that helps overcome time, but to the point where it can.

A mighty, powerful and computer-controlled machine gives a block a new shape

From there on, the hands of stonecutters, skills developed by Hotavlje for generations, come into play. In the final design, Metod is always joined with his skills – the last touch is always the authors.

The teams of the company’s installers put the unimaginably heavy creations into place and make sure they shine in all the light or water accompaniment.

Fountain “SPRING”, 2008, marble, granite, water, stainless steel, 300 x 700 x 700 cm, Trzin

With exceptional technology, development engineers, skilful stonemasons and installers, Marmor Hotavlje is a tool for accomplishing his stone projects beyond the capabilities of his studio. Metod’s inspiration gives inspiration to Marmor Hotavlje, and the company’s almost endless technological capabilities give freedom to the artist’s inspiration.

Sculptor Metod Frlic

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