The Marble Quarry

Marble, Tools, and Equipment

Most of the quarries that we know on Tinos today date back to Early Classical times, although prehistoric settlers quarried schist and marble for use in building walls and dwellings. Still visible are the remains of "falka", or troughs, always carved on the marble face, to the depth that was to be the thickness of the block being taken. These "falka" were made with the use of a long handled pointed hammer called the "soko", used like a hoe.

During the 19th century, these same quarries were supplying an array of colour and quality of marble to all of Greece and the Balkans from which our major cities were built. For the last three centuries, more than half of the population of the northern end of the island has been working in some way with the marble industry either as quarry workers, marble carvers or sculptors.

With the exception of Tinos Green and Grey marble, which are exported throughout the world, these quarries are small, family owned businesses that supply our local marble industry. The Green and Grey marbles are in great demand as architectural facing but are not suitable to carving or work for the fine artist.

There are subtle differences between the marbles quarried on Tinos, but they all have fine crystals, are easy to work, and polish to a warm, luminous finish. They vary in colour from milky white, with soft blue/grey veins, a darker blue/grey with uniform dark grey veins, and creamy white with ochre and rose veins.

Included in the studio fee is the first moderately sized piece of marble from our inventory selected by each carver. Additional marble from Tinos or white Pentellicon marble from Athens can be ordered with sufficient notice to the studio. Cost given upon request.

The Workshop

Tools and Equipment

For your use, the STUDIO provides:

  • All hand chisels and hammers
  • Compressed air and hoses throughout the studio
  • Full-range of sanding paper and polishing equipment
  • Small power tools, such as sanders, saws, grinders and drills
  • Basic protective gear
  • Large factory equipment - hoists, corer, large diameter diamond saws
  • Air hammers and chisels for beginning carvers

You are required to supply:

  • Experienced carvers are asked to bring their own air hammer and basic chisels
  • Special diamond files and pads for sanding
  • Specialized protective gear

The Forge

The Forge

The forge of Dimitri Xatzis in the village of Pirgos, Tinos, was the first on the island and was built 1905, when Pirgos was the center of marble work on Tinos. The forge has served the needs of the local stonemasons and marble carvers, both in the repair of tools and the making of new ones. Today, it is the only forge in Greece that makes hammers and axes completely by hand, and it supplies all the hand tools that are currently being used in the restoration of the Acropolis in Athens.

The chisels and hammers that we use in the studio are made at the Pirgos forge. An early morning drive to the village can be organized to let carvers see first hand, the making of these one-of-a kind sculpture tools, and give you a chance to purchase them.