1973 summer holidays were literally drowned in constant rain. I couldn’t find any suitable wood which made me restless. My hands longed for occupation. Out of some desperation I ate an apricot. Instead of throwing away the stone, I turned it in my fingers for quite a moment. Suddenly I recognized that this could be useful material for carving. I fetched my carving knives and began working.

That was quite a challenge. Fruit stones are very hard and it needs a lot of strength to make precise cuts. One has to hold the stone between thumb and index. There is no other possibility. A mechanical support could easily crush the shell. The thumb of the knife hand acts as support. Corresponding to the small size of the material the cuts are very small. At times, it can happen that the knife carves the thumb instead of the stone.

Gradually I had gained enough skill to create more and more fine structures and to hit my thumb less. Since I couldn’t see the finest details by naked eye I worked with watch-maker lenses. Figures out of apricot-, peach-, prune-, cherry-, and olive stones came into being. For a moment my family was scared that I might end carving strawberry-stones! Today I work primarily with apricot stones or with tagua nuts. The latter are also called botanical ivory, because they have a great resemblance to this material concerning appearance, hardness and tenacity. In Asia, tagua nuts are utilized more and more instead of real ivory to produce jewellery or seals.