One night in the early 1930’s, Will Edmondson heard God talking to him. “‘Will, cut that stone, and it better be limstone, too.’ So I found some pieces of limestone—old curbs, sills, steps—things no one wanted. And I began to cut on the stone with an old railroad spike and a chisel and file. I’se just doing the Lord’s work. It ain’t got much style.”
Working in his yard in Nashville, Tennessee, William Edmondson worked at carving tombstones, then expanded to sculpting stylized animals and people. Classified as “primitive,” the sculptures are now housed in museums and private collections.
Will’s story is told through a series of 23 poems, four of which are in his own words. The real joy of the book, though, is in the photos (some by Edward Weston and Louise Dahl-Wolfe) of Edmondson and his work. The black and white photos show the power and simplicity of the artist and his art.
I Heard God Talking to Me: William Edmondson and His Stone Carvings