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Getting Stone from Portugal

Getting stone from Portugal was a real problem early on.

Most of the established artist had left Portugal during the revolution in 1974.

When things settled down they already had a life in New York, London and Brazil so they did not come back. On one trip I was even offered a spot in one of Lisbon’s major art galleries if I would move there. That was not going to happen .

During this time the quarries forgot how to export large blocks of marble. Their entire production then was in slicing the stone for floor tiles and siding.

It took me a few months of inquiries before I found a quarry in Borba that was even willing to talk to me about shipping some stone to Vermont. Once we got into a conversation it took another 3 months before they actually had some prepaid stone on the road to Lisbon and then on to Boston.

One of the largenst quarries in Portugal

The blocks on the left are now cut for the sculptors. The mountain in back is considered scrap.

Their entire production was then in slicing the stone for floor tiles and siding. It took me a few months of inquiries before I found a quarry in Borba that was even willing to talk to me about shipping some stone to Vermon

Mega tons of marble that a local sculptor could take at no charge. Most of it is good for carving.

Eventually I was notified that the stone was in a certain container and on a certain ship and was given an ETA. That never happened because the ship was detoured to Rotterdam… don’t ask me why.

One day I got a call from my agent in Boston .

“Hey Ed. I’ve got a bunch of rocks here for you.“

“What do you mean rocks? Weren’t they crated?”

“Nope. Just a bunch of rocks on a pallet with manifest number written on them in magic marker.”

(When stone came in from Carrara it was in crates built so well that they could be used as a doghouse )

I rented a truck and went to Boston to pick the pieces up.

Yep. They were just blocks of marble with numbers written on them, Everyone on the dock had a good laugh about the sophistication of the shipper and they loaded the truck with the heaviest piece closest to the cab to keep everything in balance..  I have to admit that later shipments got better as the quarry become more familiar with the process.

The story didn’t end there. When I got to my place in Vermont  I was able to off load the stone with my crane, except for the large piece near the cab. I couldn’t reach in that far. A couple of beers later I came up with the solution. I backed the truck up to a good sized tree. With a heavy rope I securely tied one end to the stone and the other to the tree. Then I slowly drove the truck away. Once the stone hit the ground the trip was finally over and I had enough to work with for about  a year,.

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2 Responses

    • It’s possible. Some of the stone that came off the corners of the larger blocks were pretty decent in size and large enough to make some smaller pieces.

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