Tim Urban is a self proclaimed “Grindstone Cowboy”- in addition to his landscaping business, he meticulously creates cut stone mosaics in his workshop in Santa Fe. These pieces are less of the tesserae style of mosaic (tiny , almost uniform glass or stone pieces arranged to make larger shapes), but instead rely on the technique known as opus sectile– where entire shapes, images, or sections of the piece are made of one carefully cut piece of stone. Thus, each piece can be cut to make up a larger, component part of the design.
“Try as I might, I can’t paint. Not a flower. Not a bowl of fruit. Not a bathroom wall. But put a dirty, dusty grinder in my hand with a diamond wheel spinning at 20,000 rpms a few inches from my face, I might just get the image of that playful little bear or bird or cat out of my head and see it come to life in stone.”
The scenes portrayed in Urban’s pieces capture the romance and wildness of the American West, and the materials and patterns mimic the textures, colors, and striations of the native desert sandstone.
Photos courtesy of Grindstone Cowboy.
You can see more from the Grindstone Cowboy in person at the upcoming Architectural Digest Home Design Show! From March 19 to 22 (at Piers 92 & 94, 55th Street at 12th Ave, New York City), you can find Tim Urban’s work in the MADE section of the exposition, devoted to showcasing the work of independent designers and artisans. Don’t miss out!