Getting stone from Portugal was a real problem early on.
Most of the established artist had left Portugal during the revolution in 1974.
When things settled down they already had a life in New York, London and Brazil so they did not come back. On one trip I was even offered a spot in one of Lisbon’s major art galleries if I would move there. That was not going to happen .
During this time the quarries forgot how to export large blocks of marble. Their entire production then was in slicing the stone for floor tiles and siding.
It took me a few months of inquiries before I found a quarry in Borba that was even willing to talk to me about shipping some stone to Vermont. Once we got into a conversation it took another 3 months before they actually had some prepaid stone on the road to Lisbon and then on to Boston.
Eventually I was notified that the stone was in a certain container and on a certain ship and was given an ETA. That never happened because the ship was detoured to Rotterdam… don’t ask me why.
One day I got a call from my agent in Boston .
“Hey Ed. I’ve got a bunch of rocks here for you.“
“What do you mean rocks? Weren’t they crated?”
“Nope. Just a bunch of rocks on a pallet with manifest number written on them in magic marker.”
(When stone came in from Carrara it was in crates built so well that they could be used as a doghouse )
I rented a truck and went to Boston to pick the pieces up.
Yep. They were just blocks of marble with numbers written on them, Everyone on the dock had a good laugh about the sophistication of the shipper and they loaded the truck with the heaviest piece closest to the cab to keep everything in balance.. I have to admit that later shipments got better as the quarry become more familiar with the process.
The story didn’t end there. When I got to my place in Vermont I was able to off load the stone with my crane, except for the large piece near the cab. I couldn’t reach in that far. A couple of beers later I came up with the solution. I backed the truck up to a good sized tree. With a heavy rope I securely tied one end to the stone and the other to the tree. Then I slowly drove the truck away. Once the stone hit the ground the trip was finally over and I had enough to work with for about a year,.