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Marathon Man: Soapstone Carving Workshop

This is the sculptor’s creation, and the personal connection with the stone shapes the experience.

On Tuesday, March 26th, a group of 14 members of the Rotary Club of Cochrane, including District Governor Kurt and Silas, our exchange student, gathered at the Cochrane Legion for an evening of fellowship and creative fun.

After an excellent meal of lasagne and salad served by members of the Legion, we had Michael Emery and his wife Jenny introduced us to the wonderful world of Soapstone Carving. Michael and Jenny offer a number of programs and we picked the beginners. Here is what they shared with us:

“We begin the workshop by explaining what soapstone is and its storied history with people," they said. "The amount and depth of discussion can be adjusted to suit your specific needs.

The Beginner Workshops introduce participants to the world of soapstone sculpting in a safe, easy to follow, non-judgmental environment. The projects available for this level are perfect for getting to know the amazing qualities of soapstone and the adventures of sculpting. This program is about getting the stone into the sculptor’s hands and exploring the many ways to sculpt the stone without the need for sharp tools or power tools.

Participants will practice:

· Fine motor skill efficiency as they practice and learn about pressure application and technique to get the desired effect without breaking their work of art.

· Building spatial awareness and proportion.

· Precision – sculpting straight lines or angles that require a great deal of patience.

· Mindfulness – like many activities in life the joy is experienced in the journey and not the destination. Being present in the moment is key to any creative and artistic endeavour.

· Building self-confidence.


Participants have the final choice of the project piece they work with. This is the sculptor’s creation, and the personal connection with the stone shapes the experience.

All of the carving work is completed in shallow trays with water to eliminate stone dust in the air and simplify cleanup at the end of the program.

Sandpaper with various grits will be used (there are no sharp tools or power tools) to achieve the shape and final finish. Our staff will be equipped with a drill should any of the carvers require a hole.”

Well, we each selected a shape and for the next 2 hours we worked away on bears and rabbits, fish and butterflies with sandpaper and water. Everyone had a wonderful time creating their own works of art and sharing fellowship with each other. Huge thank you to Michael and Jenny for sharing their knowledge with us. If you want to find out more, go to


© 2024 Martin Parnell

[email protected]



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