Creative Sonoma

Suzanne Biaggi

Visual Arts: Sculpture
Suzanne Biaggi



I have been creating gardens in the greater Bay Area since I opened my landscape design studio in 1984 after receiving an MA in sculpture in 1981 from San Francisco State.

It began as a design/build practice then it slowly evolved to a design/project management studio. In 1995 monumental stone sculpture became a major element in some of my gardens. When sculpture is combined with landscape I view them as one, being inseparable. My design practice is about maintaining the flow of nature whether in a sculpture, garden, or the marriage of the two. In 2008 I had the opportunity to attend the Bioneers Conference, which dramatically affected my way of thinking, living, creating, and designing. In the winter of 2010 after concentrated study I became certified in Permaculture Design. My design practice has changed into one that is committed to deep ecology using permaculture systems that emphasize soil building, water conservation, plantings that sustain each other, use of local materials, and conservation of energy. The design studio has received several awards of excellence from the San Francisco Landscape Garden Show for its innovative designs.

I stand at a distance and discover what my work is about when a piece is completed. When I am in the process of working on something I function on a non-verbal level. The thread that connects my work is about exploring the relationship between opposing forces; it seeks to discover the frontiers where they merge.

The medium I use for this exploration is monumental stone either basalt or granite. Sometimes I examine the relationship of water and stone. The solid and the liquid; the effect they have upon one another; how the yielding liquid wears down the solid; searching for the boundaries where they meet. At other times the stone appears to be water through the method of carving and reflection of light off the polished surface; the boundaries become blurred.

My work is contemplative, collaborating with the stones…choosing areas where I alter the stone. In doing this I attempt to create a harmony between the alteration and the original stone… to add a new history to the old. As I go into the stone I am exposing the interior of the stone. The frontiers where the explorer and the explored meet becomes exposed.

My work is also about site; a collaboration between man and nature. I see no distinction between the sculpture and the site; they are interdependent. Besides taking into consideration all the elements that exist at the site including physical, spiritual, intended use, etc.; there is often the additional collaboration between the client, architects, engineers, contractors and the sculptor. This combination of ideas and energies can lead to very powerful results.

The influences on my work have been my travels. Japan, Mooria, and Italy in particular. Japan because of the aesthetic – simple, elegant, wabi sabi; Mooria because of the ancient stone worship sites; and Italy because of the Mannerist gardens blurring the line between object and landscape.