Marble and Stone - A Polish Sculptor - Edmund Ast
Edmund Kasimierz Ast Working in a Marble Yard
The Sculptor, My Grandfather
My grandfather, Edmund Ast, was born and raised in Poland. He obtained a university degree in art, specializing in sculpture and design. This was quite unusual at the time; not many young men in Poland in the 1920's had the opportunity of pursuing their education beyond the primary or maybe the middle grades. They certainly didn't have the opportunity to continue their education, much less pursue a university degree.
Edmund was fortunate. His father, my great grandfather owned a business, a wood working factory that made - furniture, cabinets, caskets. The factory employed 10-15 workers, which meant my great grandfather was upper middle class and quite well off financially.
Not that he believed he was well off; there are family stories about how tight he was with money: hiding his wealth under the proverbial floor boards, keeping his wife on an extremely strict, no, a stingy grocery budget. Nevertheless, there was enough money to live in a "villa" a nice substantial house with surrounding gardens and to send his son Edmund to university.
When Edmund began working, he received commissions from the wealthier families who purchased caskets from the family business. Edmund was a tireless worker and a perfectionist. Soon he was designing and building graveside markers and memorials.
Graveside Markers and Memorials
Other Commissions and Designs
In time Edmund received requests for other kinds of statues and stonework. He did exquisite carvings in marble, wreathes of flowers and leaves. He also carved an eagle and worked on a number of figures in marble. I have photographs of only one mythological piece - Hercules, in the Greek Heracles, wrestling a young lion.
Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures that show that sculpture from the front and the photograph shows what appear to be large baby bottles sticking out of the sculpture. Those were later removed and we are not entirely sure what they were. It is possible the stone was especially porous and allowing moisture to seep in slowly minimized the likelihood of the stone shattering while under the chisel and mallet.
Intricate Carving, an Eagle, Hercules in Battle
Discoveries in a Basement
When my father died, we found a variety of decorative stone details one might use in a garden and six large metal cases full of chisels and other stone-working tools in the back corner of his basement. The cases seemed unusually heavy and when we opened them we found the tools submerged in a high quality oil. They hadn't been used in 25 years and they were in perfect condition. The oil my grandfather poured into each case prevented air and water from pitting or rusting the surface of the tools.
In 1951 after surviving both the brutal Nazi invasion and the equally brutal Soviet occupation of Poland, Edmund and his family emigrated to the United States. It is very likely that they survived World War II and the Holocaust because they were Catholic and because my great grandfather had money.
They eventually settled in Marietta, Georgia and bought a house on "Marble Mill Road." It was a pretty street not far from the town square, where tall oak trees shaded two story homes with wide front porches. As you continued down the road the houses gradually became smaller, little one story cottages and bungalows. The road curved gently and then dead ended at the entrance to a small stone quarry. Which of course, is where my grandfather and his oldest son, who would be my father, first found work in their adopted country, America.
The story continues....
Books on European History
Art, Painting, Batiks, Sculpture
- Abstract Pictures - Abstract Paintings
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- Floral Abstract Art Paintings
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- Abstract Watercolor Paintings by Wanda Ast
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- Paintings by a Polish-American Artist
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- Stone, Steel, and Bronze: Ten Great American Memoria...
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- Batiks: Ancient Process ~ Modern Art
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- A Painting Style All Her Own - Wanda Maria Ast
Wanda Maria Ast emigrated from Poland in 1951 and settled in Georgia. There she raised her four children. As soon as she felt she had a good command of the English language she began writing poetry. In her sixties and seventies she began painting in
- Stone Carving: How to Carve Sandstone
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- Stone Carvings of Cambodia
- Ancient Greek Architecture
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- The Influence of Ancient Greek Architecture
Ancient Greece is often considered the cradle of the western world. Its art, literature, political thought, and even its very language have influenced western society for thousands of years, and continue to influence us today. One very obvious area..