Another Alabama artist, Geneva Mercer from Marengo County, later joined Moretti in his studio, and he immediately promoted her into an apprenticeship. Mercer was recognized by Alabamian Julia Tutwiler at an early age and Mercer sculpted many figures of Tutwiler after her death. They are on display at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Sylacauga Marble is displayed in art and structural forms in Washington D. C. and around the globe for its translucent beauty and for its unique quality.
Alabama pairs with Pietrasanta, Italy as a sister city, and they recognize Sylacauga marble to be of the same quality as that found in their city. Alabama draws in sculptors for its annual Magic of Marble Festival with Dr. Ted Spears as chairman. This opens the door for a more cultural environment and the city festival draws crowds from around the world.
A local and renowned marble sculptor artist is Mr. Craigger Browne. He is a Sylacauga resident and a participant in the Sylacauga Magic of Marble Festival since 2011. Browne is a Birmingham native, and he worked in the shadows of Moretti. His studio was only a few blocks from the location of where Moretti cast the Vulcan. In 1990, he moved to France to follow his dream of being a master sculptor. He worked, trained, and taught at Lacoste School of Arts in France. He later received a scholarship to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice where he continued his sculpting. He moved to Carrara, Italy, where he worked and studied at Studio Nicoli. This is one of the oldest studios in the world. He carved on marble as fine as the stone found in Sylacauga, Alabama. In a recent interview with Mr. Browne he stated, “Sylacauga marble has crystals the size of glitter as opposed to the size of an eraser head from other regions” showing how Sylacauga marble is the quality sculptors desire. Browne has sculptures on five of the seven continents in the world. He has a collection in the B. B. Comer Memorial Library in Sylacauga. His works are strategically placed on display around the city. Browne stated, “The Warmth of Enlightenment is by far my most treasured piece.” This is a carving of Ann Sullivan and Helen Keller by the well that was completed in 2017. This magnificent piece of carved marble is on display at Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s home-place in Tuscumbia.
Sylacauga recognizes many more artists and supporters in the area, but Giuseppe Moretti, Geneva Mercer, and Craigger Browne are truly dedicated supporters of the city past and present. They have exhibited an enormous footprint on the city of Sylacauga to be recognized around the world.
- The Marble Industry in Sylacauga, Alabama. Alabama Heritage(20), 1-2.
- Alabama State Council on the Arts. Encyclopedia of Alabama, 1-2.
My name is Cathy Morris. I am a mother of three wonderful children, and seven beautiful grandchildren. I am currently a student with University of Alabama at Birmingham. I returned to college to receive my undergraduate degree in history. This is my second time of attending college as I previously received two degrees in Culinary Arts. I am a pastry and savory chef. I graduated with honors from my class as Summa Cum Laude. I am currently Magna Cum Laude, but I am striving for Summa before I graduate. I was in the wedding business for myself for twenty years before covid devastated the industry. I still own my own business, but I have chosen to take a turn in another direction to pursue my love for history. I have many years of research in history, but hopefully I can utilize my knowledge, past and present, in young minds. I enjoy learning. I want to take this knowledge and pass it forward to future generations.