Elizabeth Turk’s Magnificent Marble Sculptures

Drilling down to the key elements of sculptor Elizabeth Turk’s design process.

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Elizabeth Turk wire mesh scultpure

When carving into solid rock, says Elizabeth Turk, one must be flexible. “You have to improvise a bit,” explains the Southern California–based sculptor, who has won national acclaim—and a MacArthur Fellowship—for her implausibly airy, sinuous marble creations. “The process is much more like jazz than classical.” Turk’s creative course incorporates sketchbooks and diamond drill bits, and demands ample time in bandanas, goggles, and headphones. Her current playlist? Talks by the Dalai Lama. “It fits because I think of my work, in so many ways, as a meditation practice.”