The stonework here involves playing with Montauk beach stones in different ways. In some cases I use gold leaf, in others I carve the stones, and still others I add Swarovski crystals.
Beach stones are some my favorite objects for attempts with gold. With leaf, the stones appear as oversized gold nuggets or gargantuan treasure (particularly apt in the Hamptons). The "ice cream cone" stone is half white quartz and half gold leaf. The scree field on a foggy day with gold stones scattered about is Ditch Plains beach denuded of sand after a storm.
I also like to carve the stones and then sometimes gild them. I carve with carbide or diamond tipped grinding tools and stone sanders. The five petal flowers were first carved with a grinder and then I lined gold leaf in the recesses. The "figure 8" stone was an elongated stone to start but became a more sensuous set of curves after a few hours of a grinder. Similar for the "ear". While I love shaping the stone, granite is very difficult to work with. It is insanely hard and granite dust is toxic. I have so much respect for the massive granite sphinx in the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum in New York (I have put a picture in here for reference). That was obviously carved by hand, most likely with soft metal or rock carving tools. It must have taken forever.
I also try to think of patterns with crystals that would look intriguing on the stone. I find Swarovski crystals beautiful and the contrast between these "gemstones" and the rougher beach stones is to me compelling. The pink squid was one idea; so too was covering with pink crystals the gash in a stone shattered in a drilling process. The pink crystal skull was my first attempt at carving a beach stone. As a rookie, I attacked it with a hammer and chisel rather than an electric grinder. Six hours later, I had barely dented a 1/8" skull divot. That was my last hand powered assault on granite.
There is so much more that could be done here and I look forward to experimenting. Montauk beach stones are a beautiful and special resource.