Walter S. Arnold, Sculptor/Stone Carver: Classically trained in Italy. Custom hand-carved stone sculpture. Made in the USA and Italy.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor/Stonecarver: Classically trained in Italy. Custom hand-carved stone sculpture. Made in the USA and Italy.Classically trained in Italy. Custom, hand-carved, stone sculpture. Made in the USA and Italy.    Call for an estimate:  (847) 568-1188  or


The Gargoyle News #68, May 17, 2005

Topics: New Studio
Dublin, Ireland
Jackson Park Bridge
Student questions
Wedding gargoyles

It's been quite a while since I've written; my new studio is
, and I've moved all my stone, tools, and sculptures.
I still have to carve some gargoyles to finish the outside.
This studio will be the birthplace of many new gargoyles
in the years to come.
Before completing the move, my wife and I needed to take a
breather, so we found an inexpensive flight to Dublin. When we
got there we spent a lot of time just walking around or riding
the double decker tour busses, looking for gargoyles. You can
see my finds on my Dublin Architecture page.
Some of these were on Dublin's two cathedrals, Christ Church
and St. Patrick's. A cathedral is a church that is the seat
of a bishop. Interestingly enough, in a country that is almost
entirely Catholic, the two cathedrals are both Anglican.
Dublin doesn't have a Catholic cathedral. Christ Church is
Dublin's oldest building, almost 1000 years old. Adjoining
it is Dublinia, an interactive exhibition of medieval life
in Dublin. Visitors can walk through reproductions of medieval
streets and visit homes and workplaces depicting everyday
activities typical of the period from the years 1170 to 1540.
One of these shows a stonemason (or, in the terminology used
in the United States, a stone cutter) trimming a block of stone
for a building. Here is an interesting quote from the sign
accompanying this display:

"Highly skilled stonemasons often moved from place to place with
their tools. Professional masons were responsible for drawing
moulding profiles, designing doorways and windows, determining
the thickness of walls and other technical matters. The marks
of individual masons are sometimes found on medieval stonework;
their purpose is uncertain but they enable architectural historians
to trace the movements of some of these crafts workers.
Occasionally their names are known as well; for example, we
learn from a charter that a master Walter was permanently
employed as a mason of St. Mary's Abbey in the middle of the
thirteenth century." I'm pleased to carry his name.
Learn more about Dublinia on their web site.


Last year I wrote about Bronislaus Janulis and his beautiful
hand crafted wood frames.
He just wrote and sent me photos of the recently restored
Jackson Park Animal Bridge on Chicago's South Side, near the
Museum of Science and Industry. I've put the photos on my site at
This 100-year-old stone bridge features two dozen carved animals.
Some of the damaged carvings were replaced by Paul Petreanu of the
Chicago stone firm Galloy and Van Etten. That firm is even older
than the bridge. They were founded in the 1890's and are now run
by the fourth generation of the Van Etten family. They have supplied
me with stone for many of my projects. The Hyde Park Historical
Society has a page on the history, construction, and restoration
of this bridge


Laura wrote to ask about gargoyles like, what they are, where do
they come from, and why do they exist.
Gargoyles as we usually think of them developed in the middle ages
in Europe with the large religious and public buildings built after
the year 1000, but similar types of sculpture appear in many cultures
around the world. They served a number of purposes. True gargoyles
are waterspouts, and help drain water off the buildings and protect
the buildings from water damage. The word gargoyle shares its root
with the word "gargle", it is a throat. They also helped express
the imagination, faith, fears, creativity, dreams and hopes of the
carvers, the artists, and the community at large, and made buildings
more interesting, more alive, more magical and impressive.


Barry's 4th grade art students were working on a unit designing and
creating gargoyles, and they sent me some questions.

1. How long does it take to carve one gargoyle?

Every one is different, so they take different amounts of time.
Larger ones can take longer than smaller ones, since there is
more stone to be cut away. Complex figures with wings and undercutting
(for example, carving under arms or underneath a beak) can take a
long time, while simpler more compact designs are faster. Some might
just take a couple days, others can take weeks. When I first design
a project I take into consideration how much time I can spend on it;
that's determined by the requirements of the piece (how it will be
installed and displayed, how it will be viewed), how soon the
client needs it, and what the budget is for that piece. That way
I can design a gargoyle, which I can carve in the allocated
amount of time. You can follow the process of carving a gargoyle
on my Birth of a Gargoyle page.

2. Do you enjoy your job and what is your favorite part of
being a stone carver?

Yes, absolutely, I enjoy it. This isn't the kind of work
you can do if you don't have passion for it. I especially
enjoy the creativity and the variety- every project is
different, with new things to learn and create and new
problems to solve. It's always a fresh, new experience.

3. Where did you learn to carve and how long did it
take you to learn?

I started carving when I was about 12, finding old pieces
of stone and some simple tools. I went to Italy when I was
20 to learn from the master marble carvers there, and
worked with them for several years. I then got a job on
the National Cathedral in Washington, where I worked
under Vincent Palumbo, a master carver from a family
of five generations of carvers. I'm still learning-
in artwork you have to always keep learning; each piece
of stone is different, each design and piece you carve
is different, so there is always something new to discover.
4. How did you get interested in carving Gargoyles and Grotesques?
I grew up near the University of Chicago, and when I was
young I used to ride my bike around the campus looking
at the gargoyles; I was fascinated with they. The sit on the
borderline between reality and imagination, between what
is real and what is fantasy, and they give us a way to
explore human expression, nature, and creativity.
The May/June 2005 issue of Click, a magazine for young
children from the publishers of Cricket and Smithsonian
Magazine, is al about stone and rocks. Their mascot,
Click the Mouse, interviewed me to learn how to carve gargoyles.
There is a new feature at - a wedding gift registry.
Michael and Jennifer are getting married this summer, and wanted
some gargoyles, so I set up the registry linked to my gargoyle
store. If you're getting married and would like to have a registry,
just let me know and we'll work out the details. You can find the
registry from the link in the upper corner of my home page.
The other couple listed, Sam and Janet Evening, is a demo,
with the full store inventory listed.
By the way, 2 brownie points to anyone who recognizes their name

Now that I'm settled into my new studio I promise these newsletters won't be so rare.
Talk with you soon!


You can read more issues online:

Issue 7        Mythology of gargoyles, the Zoroastrian Farohar
Issue 10      Why sculpt gargoyles? Notre Dame and Toronto gargoyles
Issue 32     
Narita, Japan
Issue 33      Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, Valentines gargoyles
Issue 51     
Stonecarvers Guild, New York Gargoyles, Frank Lloyd Wright Fountain
Issue 68     
Dublin, My new studio, Jackson Park Bridge, student questions, wedding registry
Issue 81      Aurora Dream Cycles Show, Almora B&B, Emperor Trajan, Facebook
  Special pages created to accompany newsletter issues:
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Antique Italian Cars
Architectural vandalism
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Calvary Cemetery
Carving the Indiana Museum gargoyles
Des Moines, Iowa
Dublin, Ireland
Gargoyle Tattoos
Jackson Park Animal Bridge
Las Vegas
My New Studio
Orvieto, Italy
Prague, Czech Republic
San Diego, Balboa Park
Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy
Volterra Italy
Zimbabwe Sculpture in Atlanta

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