FLORENCE — The sounds of pneumatic power tools echoed through the usually quiet atmosphere at the Vineyard at Florence on Saturday, as the estate hosted its annual Fall Stone Carving and Wine Festival.
Artists from across Central Texas gathered under tents in the chilly weather and began chipping away at their sculptures for this year’s competition.
“The entries are all carved from Texas Limestone,” said Mary Condon, owner of Texas Carved Stone in Florence. “This year they are getting very creative. It’s a free-for-all.”
The carvers worked on their entries as the Vineyard’s guests, most of them bundled up against the weather, watched them work and sipped wine. Condon said the event began as an idea between herself and the Vineyard’s owner, and has endured for nearly seven years.
“It’s always fun, and everyone has a great time,” she said.
This year’s competitors included professional carvers, and artists who crave stone as a hobby.
“I’d had never even used the pneumatic hammer before,” said Brooke Compson, an artist of Austin, now in her fifth year competing at the event. “I just wanted to learn.”
Compson, who is an art teacher, said she translated some of the skills she learned in the stone-carving medium to her students, who work in media such as clay. While the hard stone may seem like an unforgiving artistic medium, she said there was a lot of room in the competition for improvisation.
“You can either do a lot of planning, or none at all,” Compson said. “Last year, I had this huge crack, so I just had to find a way to work it into my sculpture.”
In addition to the carving competition, the event also featured wine tasting, live music and food.
The winners of the competition will be announced today, during the second day of the event.