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Master mason bringing talents to Orland
WHAT: “The Marvels of Metal and Stone” art exhibit.
WHEN: 1 p.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday through March 23.
WHERE: Orland Art Gallery, 732 Fourth St.
Master stone mason Augustine Julian Velasquez channels his Native American heritage into his work with stone from around the globe.
He carves lapis, alabaster, calcite, jade, actinolite and stealite among other stones from places like Afghanistan, Nepal, Morocco and several different parts of the United States.
They are transformed into owls, buffalo, whales and more following months or more than a year of work — depending on the hardness of the stone, he said.
"I always see the beauty of the stone," Velasquez said, adding the colors and shading make for some magnificent objects.
His work is part of the "The Marvels of Metal and Stone" exhbit during the March show at the Orland Art Gallery.
Carved stone sculptures, metal statues and clay pottery all take center stage in the event that runs through March 23.
Rounding out the exhibits are colorful photographs of wild horses from around the West and metal prints of vintage automobiles.
As a mason, Velasquez put stones into buildings for 40 years, and started carving art by accident after being diverted to Quartzite, Ariz., on a trip to the ancient pyramids in Mexico during a stormy year.
He discovered Indian carvers in Arizona whose work was really fantastic, Velasquez said, and some that were not.
But that sparked his interest in carving, and he bought 600 pounds of stone.
"Sixty days later, I was in a gallery in Carmel," he said.
Today, Velasquez's work is exhibited in galleries across the country and Europe.
This is the first time the Durham resident has shown in Orland, he said. He brought 11 pieces.
"I look on stone as a living, breathing thing," Velasquez said. "We (humans and rocks) both have the same energy."
People also contain the same metals in their bodies as are in the stones, he said, eventually all becoming bits of star dust.
Indeed, star dust is the theme for his pieces, Velasquez said, and more information on his philosophy can be found in background write-ups at the show.
Joining him is Peter Piatt of Chico, who is displaying metal statues and photographs of classic cars on metal.
Piatt is multi-talented, according to Orland Arts Commissioner Rae Turnbull.
His work runs the gamut from computer-enhanced images to sculpture and drawings.
Photographer Jo Danehy of Cohasset is a registered nurse whose passion is taking photos of horses, Turnbull said.
She has several quite large metal prints in the show of these majestic animals.
The Schulps family of Capay is bringing a variety of pottery to the show including mugs, bowls and spoon holders — all useful things that are also works of art, she said.
John Schulps founded the pottery and today his widow, Georgia, son, Marty and grandson, Kyle are continuing his legacy, Turnbull said.
Many of the items will be for sale, and the gallery also carries note cards and other gift items throughout the year.