Shaping, Carving and Polishing Soapstone
This Workshop is SOLD-OUT. Put your name on the Waitlist below or by calling the store 403.258.3500 or signup for NEWSLETTER to hear about the next one.
- April 27 (Demo) 6-8pm
- April 28 & 29 10am-4pm
$230 includes Friday Night Demo
A fun and light approach to working with soapstone stone. You will carve your own piece of stone while Vance guides you through the process of shaping, carving and polishing, helping solve the challenges you encounter at each phase. Each student will come away from this workshop with a finished piece and with a better sense of how to see and execute in the 3D. No skills required other than to be willing to have fun!
Vance Theoret – Instructor Bio
Vance connects with each stone, allowing its ancient memory to speak to him. Using this first impression of what the stone has revealed, he applies a ‘direct carve’ approach, letting the design emerge. This rough image is then refined into a clean, solid sculpture, with precise, yet minimal, detail. “I let the stone tell me what it wants to be. The results are far more exciting than if I forced my ideas on my material.”
While Vance’s work portrays the physical presence of the stone, it also evokes a wide range of emotions – from humour to a sense of tenderness shared between mother and baby – and seems to touch you on a very primal level.
Working in alabasters, soapstone’s, slate, chlorite and Kissi stone, Vance carves a variety of subjects – but bears are by far his favourite. “Bears are like big kids that never really grow up. So I can get away with portraying a lot of human qualities in them. I like to explore the more playful, curious aspects of bears.”
Vance Theorets’ work ranges from small pieces for gifts to larger sculptures for private and corporate collections. His pieces can be found as far away as Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland, Taiwan and Japan.
Note from your instructor:
Firstly there are several ways to approach carving a piece of stone. Of these ways there is no right way or wrong way.Only the way that best works for that artist’s mental and visual processes. Some artists will make drawings and sketches and then use them as a guide for their stone work. Other artists will make small clay models and then reproduce them in a larger form. And still there are those, like myself, who will look at a piece of stone and see the shapes already inside waiting to be released and use what’s called a “direct carving” method.
I will try and explain this last method as it is the only one I have experience with and so the only one I am able to shed some small insight on. I let the stone tell me what it wants to be. This may on first hearing sound kinda new age flaky. But what I’m trying to put into words is something very intangible and difficult to explain. Each stone I will look at from all angles until I connect with it and see those shapes that the stone suggests to me. This connecting is what I call talking with the stone or having it tell me what it wants to be!
Have you ever found yourself looking at clouds in the sky while at the same time, day dreaming? And out of the blue you see shapes of things in those clouds. Well in a way this is how the stone talks to me. Hopefully this example can give you an idea what I’m talking about. In the beginning, communication with the stone was difficult. Something that I had to be in a right frame of mind to experience. But like any talent or skill, it became more accessible the more I used it. The key was to get my ego out of the way and allow my mind to be open and uncluttered. I ‘ve been carving stone now for some twenty years and although I can enter into communication with the stone at will, each time there is a sense of wonder and excitement that makes each carving an adventure!
Finally let me tell you a little bit about the stone. I work primarily in soapstone and alabaster from all over the world. The stone that you see as you look at one of my carvings is many millions of years old. So in an effect you are holding pieces of this planet’s history in your hands. Every piece of stone has been formed, reformed and changed countless times. I believe that stone has a memory of all those changes. Not a memory as we know it, but one none the less, memory stored in it’s molecular structure and make up. And although I’m unable to put it into words,this is without a doubt in my mind a big part of what it is I’m connecting with when the stone talks to me. And now through me it is able to talk to you! And you by your looking at this stone and mentally interacting with it have become a next step in its evolution.You have made it in into a piece of art.
Regards Vance Theoret
Firstly, in order to protect your health you should have the following:
- pair of work gloves, leather if possible
- a pair of safety glasses
- paper dust mask if you have problems with dust
- pair of rubber gloves
All these items should be available at your local hardware store.
Also available from your local hardware store:
- 2 sheets 50 or 60 grit sandpaper
- some coarse steel wool
- some fine steel wool
- 2 sheets 400 grit wet/dry sand paper
- hammer and chisel
- plastic dishpan with flat bottom
- roll of paper towel
- several old clean (soft) rags or tea towels
- nice piece of soapstone
- black china marker
- Online Registration
- In store: 7160 Fisher Street S.E. Calgary, AB
- By Phone: (403) 258-3500
- Email: email@example.com