Amber Morningstar Byars gives us a taste of her style. I clash of Native American traditional and contemporary modern style lapidary work. Her sculptures reflect the strength of stone along with natural feminine curves.
Amber, What is your style?
It’s mixed. I have a lot of modern influence from growing up in New York. I have a different take on the Native inspiration that I do have. My father is more traditional Native American sculptor, but I kind of take his inspiration and a few pieces of his vision along with my own and, you know, bring I bring a new, modern feel to the art.
I have a few pieces with me right now, actually. I have one abstract piece in particular that I really like. I inlaid some turquoise into it’s an abstract, indoor-outdoor piece.
I do a lot of statue work which is kind of inspired by my father’s statue. They’re very feminine with different shapes but always the same feminine feel towards them. That’s the largest statue I’ve ever done. I believe it’s 52 or 53 inches with base. She’s beautiful. I saw her in the piece of stone that I got from Belen. Pretty much when I first got it I knew what to do with it.
Trading Sculpture for Stone
You told me earlier that one of those biggest parts of what you do is finding the stone and picking out the stone. Could you tell me more about that?
I worked with two brothers down in Belen who had been working with my family for years and years. My father’s been getting stone from them forever. I basically just trade sculpture for stone. I trade them a good piece that I feel is a good trade and I take it to them, present it, and they’re always accepting. They’re amazing guys. I present them with the sculpture and they trade me a stone. So I load up my truck and head on home.
What to look for in a stone
What do you look for in a stone? Are you looking for a particular stone and have a piece in mind, or do you see the stone and a piece comes to mind?
Both. I do need certain stones for certain pieces. I primarily like to work in limestone. Texas and Indiana limestone are favorites. I primarily look for those stones when I know I want to do a statue. When it comes to my little fetish bears I have to have Limestone. I can do marble and I have done Alabaster in the past, but Limestone is still my favorite stone.