George H.W. Bush
41st President of the USA
His Royal Highness
The Aga Khan
Duke & Duchess
of Westminister


Harder Than Steel

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,

I have been asked how can an Artist that works in such a difficult medium – gemstones that are harder than steel. Cope with muscling around such dense and heavy materials all day. And also be able to keep the laser focusing ability that is required for mastering intricate detailing within the stone?

All I can say is I am a walking paradox. To straddle the balance between intense pressure and then reversing the power and holding it back. Until the point that the intensity in the energy is only in my fingers, has taken me many years and thousands of Sculptures to learn and comprehend.

The closest metaphor I can give to this skill. Is its as if I am harnessing a hurricane or vortex of energy that feels limitless and as big as the sky. Then taking this massive power that is storming within my being and condensing it to a scale in which this energy is compressed into my arms, hands and fingers. While this action is happening. I try to keep my mind completely open while only focusing Zen like on the project at hand.

As an Artist, to accomplish what I do. I have to have perform this unusual dance between fragility and power. I am 6 feet and I am physically strong. Not without work either. I am a runner and work out with weights to maintain the physical demands that are placed on my body working in this medium.

Yes this duet between a Goliath like character and a butterfly requires intense preparation to keep the body well trained. For the physical demands of being able to easefully muscle around 50 lb boulders. As well as making sure the mind stays focused to be able to accommodate the rigorous discipline that is all apart of strengthening my ability to focus. Through my work environment I do experience a meditative like state. I also am a practicing Meditator for over 30 years. Without this particular skill I doubt very much that I could have created a life sized Jade Buddha, designed and fabricated to meet my Artistic standards.

The journey that it has taken to learn these skills is not for the faint of heart. It is a complex process integrated with distractions the daily running of a business to purveying the highest quality Gemstones available in the market. Of course discipline is required in all facets of modern life. However, the mastery involved in just the sculpting process alone is extreme. And I throw myself my whole being into this Art form knowing the level of commitment that is involved. Only because the reward and the pleasure of creating genuine Art is so great it over shadows the journey it took to get there.

Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,


Subscribe to our newsletter »