Andra F. Roig, Jr., owner, artisan
As a born artist and trained graphic designer, I always had an eye for calligraphy, typography and design. While attending SUNY New Paltz, my typography teacher, Clifton Meader, had us focus on painting calligraphy onto slate, then using a carbide chisel and mallet to "cut" that letter into the slate. I was immediately hooked on the painstaking, yet rewarding process of methodically chiseling stone to create beautiful lettering and designs.
After I moved to New York City, I started working as a graphic designer, while carving beautiful pieces for friends and family. I carved a stone for my best friend's wedding, but when I finished, my entire apartment was covered in a layer of dust. After cleaning my apartment, I put my chisel and mallet away in a box. Fifteen years later, I moved upstate to raise my family. I was unpacking a box in my new house and found my chisel and mallet stored inside. I immediately grabbed the chisel, found a stone laying outside and began carving.
With my mother's 70th birthday months away, I decided I would carve something to commemorate her. I cut into slate for the first time in 15+ years. The only difference was, this time I wasn't going to stop.
People started asking me about my carvings. They wanted to know if they can commission and purchase a carving? it's CARV'D was officially born. Commission your piece with me today!
Q&A with Andra Roig, Jr.
When were you introduced to stone carving and "cutting" letters into stone? I was introduced to letter cutting while attending college. My teacher, as part of our typography and calligraphy class, taught us the intricacies of calligraphy and painting letters into stone, then carving them. Many students in the class were annoyed by having to learn this ancient technique, but I was immediately hooked to it and loved the intricate process. I fell in love with designing on stone, and chipping away until that design was fully realized.
When did you start it's CARV'd? it's CARV'd was born in the beginning of the COVID pandemic, in April 2020. I began carving again in July 2019, after 15 years of living in Harlem N.Y.. After I carved my mother's 70th birthday stone, I continued carving daily and began studying, slowly building my skills and confidence. When my neighbor commissioned my first project, it's CARV'd was officially born. A few days later I designed my website and logo and I have been creating commissioned work ever since.
How long does it take to complete a carving? Depending on size of stone and complexity of the design, it will take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to complete. After sketching my clients' ideas into slate for approval, I begin the carving process. The client won't see the stone again until the carving is finished.
What stones do you prefer to use to carve? My favorite stone to carve is slate, followed by blue stone. Sandstone is fun to carve in too. The slate I use comes from Orange Nursery and Stone Supply, which specializes in beautiful Vermont Slate and Pennsylvania Blue Stone. As long as there is a chisel in my hand, I am very happy.
What equipment do you use to carve into stone? I use a chisel and dummy (hammer) to create my carvings. All of my carvings are 100% drawn and carved by hand. That is a factor in the length of time it takes to finish a carving. The chisels and dummy I use come from Trow and Holden, or John Neal books. Both are great resources for quality, American made chisels and carving products.
Why do you design a photo book for each client? As an artist and trained graphic designer, it is extremely important to me to create a visual story of each design process. Many people, in today's technological era, are unable to believe that intricate letters and designs can be cut into stone by hand. These beautiful photography books take my clients on a journey of the entire process of their commission, from choosing the stone, to the completion of the piece. Not only do they get one piece of art, they get two.
All images copyright of it’s CARV’d 2021