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Re-published from a previous edition with 2021 updates...
Although I have driven out to this site before I had never actually entered the property in my nearly three decades of living in the area. It is in a remote serene location that has ties with the once thriving textile industry derived from cotton. In fact, nearby Gastonia once boasted the largest indoor textile manufacturing plant in the United States. My interview with Mr. Joseph Croisette began promptly after my arrival at about 3:40 PM. He is the French husband of the British founder of ZimScuplt Vivienne (Pronounced like Vivian) who established the company in 2000 after being wowed by the art at a London exhibition. The captivating art motivated her to travel down to Zimbabwe where she spent two intriguing weeks in awe of the unique form of art and the stone artist. In fact, the namesake of their country means Great Stone House. Prior to that Vivienne had promoted national and international artists in the UK but had never experienced such raw talent as with these African artists.
She met Joseph in Zimbabwe in 2007 -- he was there admiring the African art as well. They married and thus joined creative and entrepreneurial forces to introduce ZimSculpt to a worldwide audience. They now represent over 200 sculptors and boast the largest Zimbabwean collection and extensive artist biography database online. Their company is based in Harare and together they hand pick each work of art that is on display and I learned from my interview that Joseph (Along with the artists) plan and physically place each of the more than 100 works of art and African plants; using a forklift for the heavier items – some weighing up to a ton (2,000 pounds). I also got a chance to take a personal tour with Mr. Hoffman as my guide and will share what I learned below. Mrs. Croisette could not make this trip because she was expecting the couple’s third child in a few weeks. She did, however, call to check in while I was there for this interview.