Handicraft: Piece by Peace Chess

by ChessBase
5/2/2014 – It's a two-man company: master artisan Mary Sutphen sculpts chess pieces in wax, her son Robert uses rubber molds to cast them in different materials. In addition Rob hand carves chess sets from alabaster and soapstone. Each piece is the result of many hours of work, and full sets may take months to complete. Still the prices are extremly reasonable. Take a look.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Piece by Peace Chess

By Rob Sutphen

I've been visiting your chess news site for several years now, and have found it to be such a great resource, as well as an inspiring reflection of the chess world as a whole. It is a very welcome part of my daily routine. I am writing to you because I was curious if you might be willing to lend me a hand in my own art and chess related efforts.

My mother, Mary Sutphen (above), and myself have been pouring our hearts into making truly handmade chess pieces. Over the past year, in order to contribute something meaningful to the game, and to pay those dreaded bills, we have been working tirelessly in the old style of rubber mold, making and casting in various materials.

I have been acting as a kind of apprentice to my mother, who has her masters in fine arts; taking her originals, sculpted in wax and clay, and learning how to make an accurate reproduction. Every step in the process is done by hand, without the aid of computer guided technology.

Each piece is the result of many hours of work. We humbly believe that this human aspect shines through and is more in tune with the real spirit of the game. We offer these pieces at very reasonable prices because we want the common man to be able to afford them.

These handcrafted pieces were designed by master artisan Mary Sutphen, who sculpted the originals in wax. Made to order, available in a variety of colors. Includes a vinyl board. Dimensions: king 3¾". Here are some details of the pieces:

The following handcrafted pieces are inspired by various mushroom species.

The pieces are made of cast polystone, which has the feel and weight of stone, and sit very nicely on a vinyl roll up board with 2¼" squares (included). Dimensions: king 3¾".

In addition to our cast pieces, I also carve sets from stone by hand in primitive style, inspired by the ancient shatranj pieces. Each one of these sets takes several months to complete.

The above set is from alabaster and soapstone. Every piece was handcarved with a handsaw and further shaped with files and sandpaper. Each was then buffed with beeswax. The board is a really beautiful solid slab of granite on which I layed gold leafing paint for the dark squares.

I've found it to be great for both personal study and friendly games. Dimensions: king 2 1/8".

It is our great love for this game and the many lessons that it has to teach that inspires us to work in this way. Today the term "handmade" is often used very loosely. We think it is important to return to the basics and create in the style of the old masters.

I hope that the heart shines through these written words and you can see our good intentions. We are not a big business, and are only interested in doing what we love in order to provide for our family through our two-person company.

Rob Sutphen earned his degree in philosophy at the University of Rhode Island. In addition to his apprentice in fine arts, he currently teaches tennis, golf and chess Scott County Virginia.

Mary Sutphen earned her bachelor's degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and her master's degree in fine arts at Ohio State. Mary works in a variety of mediums ranging from acrylic and oil paints, as well as her specialty, three dimensional sculpture.

Piece by Peace Chess is based in the mountains of Scott County, Virginia.


  • Medieval Theme Tournament polyresin pieces: $200 USD = 148.15 Euro
  • Mushroom Theme polystone pieces: $150 USD = 111.11 Euro
  • Soapstone and Alabaster set with granite board: $500 USD = 370.37 Euro

Chess sets are limited edition, with serial number and signed certificate.

International postage (6-10 days)

  • Medieval Theme: $25 = 18.52 Euro
  • Mushroom: $61.75 = 45.74 Euro
  • Soapstone + Alabaster: $61.75 = 45.74 Euro

Shipping within the United States is a flat rate of $12.50 for all sets.

You can order our chess sets here at Etsy.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register