Turn family designs into immortal stone art with Hudson Valley Slate
Led by a native of Orange County, It’s CARV’D offers custom designs for beautiful slate sculptures while supporting the Hudson Valley Fathers.
Can your art stand the test of time?
It’s CARV’D, founded and operated by SUNY New Paltz graduate Andra Roig, immortalizes designs of all kinds in rock. Roig’s magnificent garden art can withstand the elements to last for several lifetimes.
In addition to invaluable illustrations, Roig uses steel and carbide scissors to carve logos, letters, and any other designs that can be crafted into slate. For pieces meant to live outdoors, he cuts deep enough to ensure that the letters stay as crisp with 50 years of acid rain and corrosion as they were the day he carved them. Customers also receive a collection of photos detailing the process that brought their design to life.
Roig puts exactly what is given to him in slate, not just a replica. A meaningful poem, a first attempt at art, or a character born from a child’s imagination is raised into something enduring.
“Part of my business plan is to take sketches of kids, maybe something they did during the pandemic, and hand carve them in stone. It’s pretty surreal that they’ve been around for hundreds of years, ”Roig says.
Custom designs for slate carvings have always been central to Roig’s idea for It’s CARV’D, but offering a way to preserve children’s drawings came when his own son, Max, gave him an adorable look. pencil from Marvel’s Iron Man.
Many parents can relate to the experience of receiving a work of art that might be thrown away or put in a box or folder and forgotten. Roig wanted to make this moment a living memory and, with the drawing, engraved the name, age and date of his son in a piece of stone. Now, memories that seem fleeting can last forever.
Although the products live many lifetimes, the art itself is dying.
“Most of what I’ve learned honestly comes from books. There are very few – maybe less than a dozen – stone craftsmen who carve slate and hand carve letters in America, ”says Roig. “I am honored to be one of the only people in the country to use old school methods and, in my research, the only person of color in the field.”
Roig carries on a tradition about as old as the human race itself. He stumbled upon lost art while taking a graphic design class at university. One of his teachers asked the students to paint a typography on the stone and then carve it. “Everyone in the class was like, ‘What is this? I’m going to be a graphic designer who works on computers and he wants us to carve stone, ”Roig recalls.
After awhile, Roig picked it up and found the medium fascinating. In a way, it’s high-risk art. There is no way to hide mistakes, and every mark you make on the web is permanent; so permanent, in fact, that it will outlive the artist.
He took the form with him to the Bronx after graduating from college and carved small stones for friends as gifts. His whole apartment was covered with a layer of dust from his maniacal chiselling. Finally, he put his mallet and chisel away in a box, where it remained for the next 15 years. He married, returned to the Hudson Valley, and had three children.
One day, while moving boxes around his house, Roig heard a rattle. He once again took out his beloved tools, and he has not put them away since. Fortunately, a stone quarry is only three kilometers from his new home. It’s CARV’D is a company born out of the pandemic, the perfect setting to spend long hours working on projects at home.
It was also not the only project Roig started during the COVID-19 crisis. Fathers are often seen as the rock of their family, but they also need support.
A friend of Roig spent some time in hospital during the height of the pandemic and was deeply traumatized by the death and suffering he witnessed.
“When my friend came out he said, ‘Andra, you were the only one I could talk to while I was in the hospital. I thought I was going to die, and I had no one around, no community to support me, ”says Roig. “That’s when I knew we had to do something for the Hudson Valley Fathers.”
Wine Wednesdays, Facebook gardening groups, and online parenting resources are primarily geared towards mothers. For all the fathers quarantined at home, Roig wanted to foster a new community.
Fathers Love, Fathers Heal began as a weekly Zoom Call to ensure fathers in the area had the resources they needed to support their families throughout the pandemic. The group started a free garden club (online Mondays at 7 p.m.) to teach fathers how to grow their own food if family members were immunosuppressed and couldn’t risk going to the grocery store.
Slowly the group has grown into a larger community that supports the development of local businesses, connects people with mental health resources, and spotlights exceptional parents in the Hudson Valley and beyond. For her spotlight series, Roig wrote about Salahadeen Betts, the director of the Cullen County Community Center in Harlem, an example of what a community pillar should look like.
Programming continues to increase and diversify, with the development of a network of small businesses. Roig wants to be the type of father his kids can look up to, and he’s been successful.
“It’s CARV’D, it’s not just me carving the stone. I’m carving an idea, a foundation and an inspiration into something that, unless you try to physically destroy it, won’t, ”Roig says.
Related: 10 Ways To Use Stone In Your Landscape