Soapstone Class – Week 1

Last Friday I went to my first soapstone carving class.

Although I normally work in wood I thought taking this class would help me develop my carving skills on a material that is easy to work with and put me in an environment with other, much more capable, carvers that I could learn from.

I think calling the other members of the class “more capable” is something of an understatement. It’s only a small group but most of them have been taking the same class over and over for a few years and their work is nothing short of remarkable. It would be entirely appropriate to call them artists rather than simply carvers. There is a wide array of skills and styles on display from the other members of the class from abstract sculptures to animals to classical chinese style heads.

As you’ve probably seen, my work is a little more… unsophisticated. I probably won’t be making any terracotta warriors within the 8 weeks of the course but I’d like to come out of this with something simple and presentable.

I haven’t quite decided on my main project yet so I spent the first class working on something small using one of the free scraps among the supplies of stone (we pay for the stone by weight normally). It’s going to be a little mousey.

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I think I’m just about done with the basic shaping so the next class will be spent smoothing it off and maybe even applying a finish. When I’m done with the smoothing I’ll drill some little eye holes and another hole in the bum for me to stick some leather thong in to act as a tail.

I’m working on sketching some ideas for my main project so hopefully I’ll at least be able to pick out a stone this week and start some basic roughing out.

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