About "stone Carving and Dolce Vita" with Wolfgang Sandt

Our time in La Rogaia was just wonderful!


What is La Rogaia?

An island of peace, stillness, light and sun in the midst of the wild and romantic Umbrian hills. We (3 adults with a dog) were there from in September 2022 and enjoyed two wonderful weeks.

Our apartments were spacious, clean and very well equipped according to the rural flair. We were warmly welcomed by Annette, Wolfgang and their daughter Amira and spoiled with delicious food. All employees of La Rogaia were very courteous, friendly, helpful and always approachable and open to requests or questions. We hold them all in our hearts.

About the stone carving course with Wolfgang:

Before we arrived I was able to send Wolfgang my plans for a sculpture and right from the start I had a very informative exchange of emails with him about the shape, size and type of processing (manual/mechanical) of my sculpting project.

And when we arrived, the blank was already waiting for me. A wonderful stone, which went wonderfully with my object.

And off we went: A lonely Flex sounded through the wide country. Wolfgang was always at my side with advice and action. I was able to learn a lot from him with his wonderfully patient manner. He never tired of telling me: Take a close look. Take your time to contemplate.

In fact, I was able to finish my object down to the final smooth sanding. This would not have been possible without his advice. Thanks again for everything Wolfgang!

There was also a lot to discover in the area: wonderful cities like Perugia, Assisi, Montepulciano etc.

Our time in La Rogaia was just wonderful!

Brigitte Pfyl, Switzerland, about "Stone Carving and Dolce Vita" with Wolfgang Sandt, 2022

I was very pleased I selected La Rogaia for my class experience.

As a nearly 74 year old woman, I was not sure if I was up to learning how to sculpt  marble.  However, it had been a bucket list item for years.  

I was very pleased I selected La Rogaia for my class experience.  

The accommodations were very comfortable with few distractions from learning this art form.  

Wolfgang is to be commended for his patience and skill with teaching beginners how to learn the basics and more during the short week we had.  Most classes of this type elsewhere are 2 weeks in length.  

We did have full days of work in order to complete our projects.  

All we needed was available on this beautiful property in Umbria. I reached my goal of learning the tools and techniques thanks to Wolfgang.  

However, if I return, it will be to take their available cookery classes or just to rent an apartment and read and relax.

Savan Wilson, Fairhope, about "Stonecarving and Dolce Vita" with Wolfgang Sandt, July 2018

A few weeks ago I booked a sculpting course with Wolfgang Sandt for July at La Rogaia...

Pling! Inbox:  "Do you already have an idea, a project that you´d like to do, or should we work it out together?
What kind of stone do you want to work with? "

It's November, totally uncomfortable outside and I am in the mood for other things than Italian summer sun.

A few weeks ago I booked a sculpting course with Wolfgang Sandt for July at La Rogaia.
Still an eternity away.

But in the description of the class was also written  something of detailed preliminary discussions and advice. The man keeps his word!

So I answer - still unmotivated that I already have some experience, preferably working in the non-representational – that I want to see what the stone offers to me, what is in it and to work with that
...and of course it should be white marble.  We´re in Italy after all.
A lively correspondence arises from it: Wolfgang really takes care, gives thought to everything.

... and at some point comes for me the moment where I say to myself: If I already have such a dedicated "master" why not dare creating something representational?

It's supposed to be a woman's head, long-flowing hair, realistic, but also somewhat mystical ... ... a "wind bride"!

Wolfgang asks for sketches. Advises to perhaps take another marble: Calacatta, more lively, slightly gray banded, sends photos. Great!
He is now looking for stones and at some point - it is spring now and the anticipation has increased considerably – he comes with the message that he has found an interesting stone and sends a photo.

A stone that makes my two design approaches possible: To include the original character of the stone while at the same time forming "my" sculpture ...

I am very pleased - can hardly wait.

Arrival at La Rogaia: After breathtaking views over the lake and the surrounding hills on the way. A really nice place.

One recognizes immediately: Here live art-loving people. Sculptures on the whole area, carefully landscaped plantings, aesthetic interior design … (and just as a side note, even the physical well-being is cared for excellently)

The next morning we meet under the sunscreen of the sculptor's workplace.  The view into the landscape, the surroundings are inspiring. We are only a small group – pleasant.

Wolfgang has put every stone on a working bench made to our specifications (he had also asked our heights because of the correct working height), tells us of his career as a sculptor, and about sculpture...

Then it starts! No, not with the stone! With the tools!
Everyone got their own set in a wooden box marked with their name and, although brand new, the irons*  have to be sharpened.

Wolfgang demonstrates first how to do it, then we do it, under his guidance ...

I have the first learning success, because my former teacher did not teach me that and it will help me in the future.

Then we discuss the individual projects with the whole group. Go from stone to stone ... learn.  

Then I stand in front of my block and it is really going to start! It looks a lot bigger than in the picture!
That is supposed to become a head? A face? I can imagine the waving hair the most.

I transferred my sketch to the stone, profile, en face. ..But - if I work on it, the preliminary drawing is gone again?
"You can fix that with help lines – make them a little longer and where needed draw them again ..."
Wolfgang is always there, explains, demonstrates ... and you can feel: for him it is fun to convey his knowledge!

So he is always present in all those days ... and on some days when we arrive in the morning or return from our lunch break, he has already spent quite a while on the work place, thinking about the individual works and sharing his suggestions with us ...

I am amazed how under his guidance "my" wind bride arises.
I learn about proportions of the face (I have now bought the "Bammes"* , the classic, because I find it so interesting and now look at my faces with different eyes).
I learn the handling of the tools ..., he introduces me to the "fine" operations: Eyes and mouth… So crucial for the facial expression ... and so difficult.
I am amazed at how minimal changes affect the facial expression ...

Sometime, Wolfgang says, "My ambition is not just to teach you how to carve stone, but to teach you to look carefully"

For me the decisive thing, what I took with me: Looking carefully...!

Of course, I also took my sculpture with me, in the opinion that it was ready ...!

But looking further I still noticed a detail, which could be improved ...

Looking carefully!
That was the main impulse Wolfgang gave me.

Thank you!

Giorgio from Kiel, Germany, about „Stone carving and Dolce Vita“, July 2018

P.S. My sculpture is ready.
P.P.S. I already have ideas for the next project

*  Stonemasons at least in German speaking countries and in Italy usually refer to all their chisels as “irons”
*  Bammes is a classic standard book about human anatomy for artists.

"I still like to think back to our days at Villa La Rogaia.

"I still like to think back to our days at Villa La Rogaia.

It was a beautiful working experience and with your good and persistent guidance, it was not only fun, but also a lot of excellent training: Learning to look closely, to have a long breath and to carve the stone tirelessly, until you have formed the shape you desired .... "

Gabi Zapf, Munich, Germany, about "Stone Carving and Dolce Vita", July 2018

About a stone carving workshop with Wolfgang Sandt

The days with you at Villa La Rogaia where nice and carefree. We have taken many beautiful memories in our everyday life.
Gudrun und Dieter, Passau