Josh Wiener carves a living out of stone–literally. As a second-generation sculptor, he works mainly in marble but also is well-versed in granite and limestone, and even does artistic concrete creations. After developing his talent close to home, Wiener went on to apprenticeships in Japan and studies in India, exotic lands that now house some of his works in permanent collections.
As a resident staff member of the Marble Institute's summer symposia, Wiener works with 150 attendees to help them achieve their dreams through stone, participating in "Cool Tools" and other workshops on the hardware and methods of stone sculpting.
Wiener holds the key to the Marble, Colo., institute's tool shed, which holds dozens of electric grinders as well as inline air chisels and countless carbide-tipped chisels and gouges. His favorite tool: the diamond-toothed hydraulic chain saw. The saw setup costs $10,000 and requires a $900 bar, chain, and sprocket replacement after every 500 square feet of marble cutting. For a pro like Wiener, however, the productivity of this tool is worth the cost as it allows quick removal of stone in large blocks.
Wiener, 31, has won eight public works commissions, the largest of which while in his 20s. This installation consisted of 180 tons of granite, nine tons of marble, and 20 yards of concrete, which was formed in a single, nerve-wracking pour. Though working solely on commissioned works for several years, Wiener still finds freedom in what he does. "In whatever you do," he says, "if you stay inspired, you are on the right path."