Creative Process

Sculpting is a manipulation of space.  It is taking away to reveal the movement within.  A sculpture should not only appeal to the eye, but also to the imagination, allowing a moment in time to expand and capture a story.


Rough Stone   Bear On Rock:
This is a chunk of soapstone from Northern Quebec. Though it looks quite light here, in truth its natural colour is a rich blue green which is revealed through polishing. This piece is destined to be a bear peering over a cliff.


MERMAID: Black Walnut is a beautiful hard wood which has a light sapwood and deep rich heartwood. The bark is easily pulled away using chisels and put aside. It is thick and full of character ... perfect for creating Wood Spirits.


Bear-ly There   A rough sketch is made directly onto the stone with India Ink. Simple lines depicting backbone, shoulders and hip bring structure to the form.   Aggressive Blocking allows the rough form to be seen almost immediately. The main placement now has to be refined.   Mer-Making
Design Stage  


Bear-ly There   And the side profile becomes the guidelines for the first aggressive cuts that take care of the empty space.   Roughly cutting the edges of the tail, hair and arms make it easier to see what needs to to scaled down to make the sculpture more proportional to enhance the fluidity of the piece.   Mer-Making
Simple Line Placement  
      Rough Cuts
Bear-ly There   By working from the backbone down, it allows you time to read the stone and if a fault or interesting colour change occurs, you can shift the bear within the stone to fully utilize its individual characteristics, before carving off too much and minimizing your options.   Posture changes in the mermaid's pose reveals more depth to her story. Adding a slight lean to the right and turning her torso to the left can either be seen as drawing away or leaning into something or someone depending on the context of the story which grows in the eyes of the viewer.   Mer-Making
Blocking out
      Shaping Head and Arms
Bear-ly There   Rough carving with an air chisel rounds curves, slowly taking the one dimensional drawing into it's 3-D form. Switching to a die grinder, curves are softened and sharper angles accentuated around the shoulder, legs and neck.   Gently running the chain back and forth on the wood smooths out any unwanted bumps and divets while slowly accentuating the natural curves of the mermaid. Detailing in the hair also brings her a step closer to reality.   Mer-Making
Air Chisel


Bear-ly There   Pencil grinders are then used for the finer detailing and as the final facial features are added the spirit of the bear just seems to pop out.   To seperate the arms from chest and torso serveral plunge cuts are made at varying angles. Once they are connected the extra wood catches the chain and flies out of the way.   Mer-Making
      Plunge Cut between arms
and torso
Bear-ly There   I clean up any deeper gouges before moving to the final stage. All polishing is done by hand with five different grades of sandpaper. This being the case, polishing can often take as long as the actual carving of the bear. Once this is complete a protective coating is added and the base is roughed up.   Now I do a 360 around and 'tweak' the piece, taking off barely there pieces until my eyes see the image my mind's invisioned.   Mer-Making
There's Bear   By bruising the stone the bear becomes a more pronounced figure as the base appears lightened. Each piece is signed and given a registration number before going out into the world in search of a home.  

Sand, Sand, Sand!

And then Polish some more and finally the piece is smooth and the grain gleaming. She is no longer just a piece of wood, but something much more.