When I started carving stone l primarily purchased stone. At first, l used soapstone from Quebec, which originally came from my brother Sandy. Eventually, l went to the quarry in St. Pierre de Broughton in the Eastern Townships myself and filled my van to overloading and drove home. But that's another story...
Later on, l discovered that there was marble in Ontario, but only once did l ever find some. On our trips to Florida in the winter to do art shows, l was first exposed to alabaster as a new medium.
Once l arrived on Vancouver Island in 1990, l was informed that there was marble all over the island. This event catalyzed a new relationship with marble. I was told of a Persian man, Mr. Shariatmadari, who had left Iran to come to Canada when his families generational marble quarries were confiscated after the Islamic revolution in 1979.
A favorite marble hunting spot.
(cont'd) He was beginning the process of developing a marble quarry on the north end of Vancouver Island. When l called him and asked if l might get a piece of his marble to try, he said to me, "God made marble for sculptors and l was welcome to whatever marble l needed". I was speechless. So obviously, I ended up in the right place for a stone sculptor!
Over the years l have carved literally tons of this marble. Many of my public sculptures are carved of this stone. I have driven many of the logging roads of the island, hunting for marble. I am sure my stone hunting adventures could fill an entire book.
At my home studio, I have a gigantic pile of marble collected over the past twenty years. The actual variety and variation of local marble is amazing. Island white marble, Carmanah black with white veining, brown with white lightning strikes, Orca marble (white marble with black shapes and black marble with white shapes) and many, many others. We have beige and blue sandstone from Quadra Island, that is similar to limestone in consistently. Numerous other types of carvable stone are found throughout the Gulf Islands.
Each summer, at least once, l continue to hunt stone. Now, I continue to search for new and unique rocks to carve. It's an excuse for me to go out into nature and discover things few have seen. Beautiful mountain streams, unusual rock formations, wildlife, and a couple special marble specimens to bring home.
This is where every stone sculpture begins for me. A raw stone from nature, filled with potential, to take on any form.
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