Learning to Carve in a Nutshell
As Paul indicated in About Us, he fell in love with stone carving after viewing a particularly beautiful piece in the 1980’s. Since that time, he has immersed himself in Inuit carving and Arctic travel to learn all he could about carving, the carvers, their culture, and the places they live. He has used that experience and his 30 years of university teaching to create two types of educational programs for those who want to learn to carve or those who simply want more information for their club or social group.
- Hands-on stone carving workshops for individuals or groups
- Lecture presentations to groups or conferences
His workshop participants have included Canadian First Nation people, blindness professionals, university graduate students, and adults and children with visual impairments. His favorite workshops were those held at the Art Education Camp for Students with Visual Impairments, an annual weeklong Art Summer Camp he directed in Michigan for some 15 years.
Inuit style stone carving is a special art form, because of the stone’s inherent beauty. Even if made by a beginner, a highly polished completed piece generally amazes all who see it. Once a carver learns to add form, stone carvings are the most impressive of all art works!
Unfortunately, stone carving is not a mainstream art form. It is rarely taught to public school students or adult art students studying at art centers. Working with stone simply creates far too much dust to be allowed inside most building, let alone an art center in the vicinity of other art classes. It is certainly not acceptable to have a dust coating over wet oil paintings, ceramic glazes, and the like. Consequently, few people are ever exposed to carving lessons or know anything about how carving is done and far fewer actually carve. However, its relative rarity does not necessarily mean that it is more difficult to learn than other kinds of art. For this reason, Paul would like to help everyone who has an interest to learn enough about carving to make an informed choice about pursuing the skill further. As such, the following paragraphs contain a brief summary of the process.
The Steps in the Carving Process
Step 1: Identify and Use Common Carving Tools
Step 2: Identify and Select a Carving Stone
Beginning carvers are generally given their first stone by an instructor. However, if you are actually choosing, select a soft soapstone, such as Brazilian soapstone and choose a shape that is similar to what you want to make, that is, select a stone that already looks a bit like your final figure, a bear, bird, etc.