Something Ignited In My Soul
Karin Sprague echoes the words of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda when she speaks of her carving, as she relates how she discovered stonework and unearthed her passion to carve in stone. "To express myself this way was a natural progression."
Karin began her artistic journey with an interest in photography. She attended Paier College of Art in Hamden, CT, then realized that photography was not her niche. "It just wasn't physical enough."
She studied and practiced wood carving, then began working at Bentsen Signs in East Greenwich, RI. As her skill and experience developed, she studied 18th-century carving. Driving through the rural areas in the northwest corner of the state, she would often pull over and walk into the woods, examining the lettering on old gravestones. It never occurred to her to work in stone until a chance meeting with David Klinger, an established stonecarver, opened her eyes to the possibility.
When her father-in-law, Francis Sprague, passed away, Karin felt a great need to carve his gravestone, even though she'd never worked in stone before. After completing that special project, Karin realized how deeply she loved practicing this ancient art, creating works that are permanent and leave lasting impressions.
Karin carves each stone according to the unique wishes of her clients. As she notes, "You have to have a certain vision of the person and put the images together."
She draws her own designs and letters, and carves each stone by hand. It is meticulous and painstaking work, yet creative and free.
"There is that flourish the hand can give at the beginning or the end of a letter, and there's beauty in that."
Now an established stonecarver, Karin Sprague is kept busy creating lasting memorials and other works for clients across the United States. Word has spread quickly about Karin's craftsmanship, and now a staff of apprentice stonecarvers help Karin with the work. The homestead studio is filled with the pleasant strains of music and the busy sounds of chisels and mallets at work.
"I do feel this is the work I've been called to do. There is a ministry to this."