Monday, March 8, 2010

Spirits in Stone

From March 8th through March 29th, Textures Craftworks presents the exhibition, Spirits in Stone - an original collection of soapstone carvings by local artisan John Tice.

After many years as a woodcarver, John turned to soapstone after picking up a small piece at a flea market and playing around with it.

Soapstone is a metamorphic stone comprised mainly of talc, the softest mineral. It occurs wordwide in areas where where a tectonic plate has submerged below another.

While soapstone is most often associated with the black stone carvings of the Inuit, it can also be found in many colours from brown to light green. It has been utilized by people around the world for thousands of years. Many native Americans used it to make bowls, pipes, lamps and other implements and adornments. In parts of Asia it has been used to make massive temple statuary.

Tice purchases the stones he uses for carving from Ben Henry, a renowned Onondaga carver from Six Nations Territory, who imports them from Brazil. I was surprised to discover the outside layers of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro were also fashioned from this same soapstone because of its enduring qualities and ease of use. 

"I like to capture human or animal spirits and emotions in my work" says Tice.

Textures is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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