Numerous travelers through Dalmatia enjoy beautiful architecture in many of our charming little towns. Those more observant will see that many of these buildings were built with beautiful, distinctively white stone, this special kin of limestone is the most famous building material of Dalmatia. Numerous churches, palaces and other buildings, not only in Croatia, but all over the world were built with this stone. But this story will not be about the stone, this story is about people that sculpt this stone and unique school that teaches them the ancient skill of stonemasonry. The fact that Brač is an island of stone also means that naturally stonemasonry tradition is present on this island since the dawn of civilization. Although this art was passed on from generation to generation through master apprentice method, there was no formal school of stonemasonry until 1909. In 1909, under director Emil Ruml a Czech sculptor, the School started its official program that enabled formal education for stonemason. Pučišća town is Croatian capital of stone, main quarry is just outside the harbor and the people here have special relationship and respect toward this material And as a locals says, the stone in not mined, but picked like a fruit ripe to be picked. This town also gave two notable sculptors, Branislav Dešković and Micheli Valerij both of whom although raised in the “capital” of stonemasonry choose bronze as their favorite material.
Pučišća stone masonry school is the only school of that kind in Croatia and one of the few in Europe, this institution attracts many disciples from Croatia but also abroad, with increased interest for school from many European countries. There are several programs that you can enlist from 3 year to 4 year programs, which allow disciples to apply for university. Although employment is not an issue after this school, many of the students choose to further upgrade their relationship with this material, so they go to university to study architecture or art. Dormitory is there as well, which enables disciples from other parts of the country to live and study here away from their families. The school is also unique because of its policy not to use any power tools in process of learning. All sculpting is done with handmade tool which are made from hardened steel. This way they consider is the best, because it allows disciples to get good feeling of stone as material with their own hands, so they develop more intimate relationship with material and its quality.
Even in the summer months they are not without work, when school year is finished and disciples are back home with their families, the school organizes courses, summer schools and art colonies. This way this unique institution attracts many domestic and foreign artist that want to experience or improve the unique art of stonemasonry. When you visit Brač island, be sure to visit Pučišća town where you can experience this unique relationship between human and stone.