Fiona Plunkett
Carver, Artist, Learner of New Things

Carvings

I do stone sculptures in various sizes and stone types. Many of the items are for sale or can be similarly replicated, so if you see something you like please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

 


 

I am a soapstone sculptor based in South Mountain, Ontario. Born in England, I came to Canada at a young age and was raised in the Ottawa area. Growing up in the country, I developed a love of nature, and even as a child would pick up interesting looking rocks and bring them home. Years later, I began dabbling in various forms of art, beginning with a shop class in Elementary School. The three small soapstone carvings I created back in 1982 now sit among my “newer” pieces as ironic foreshadowing.

I was “re-introduced” to soapstone carving in 2001 when I met a talented Cree artist who willingly shared his expertise. While retaining his appreciation of line and equilibrium, I soon branched into my own style which often reflects the fluidity of the world around me. Most of my carvings are inspired by the natural world, but they are also often dictated by what the stone tells me it should be. It has been known to happen that a buffalo has turned into a whale, or a discarded off-cutting has become a cat or a wolf. For the most part I like to create smaller, more affordable pieces, but will occasionally create larger sculptures when the mood hits.

I have participated in Art in the Park events, studio tours, private shows, fundraisers, and corporate events. I have had carvings in galleries/shops in Ottawa and Montreal, and been a featured artist in galleries in Kemptville and Brockville. I was even featured on Regional Contact. Often people like to tell me where they plan to send my carvings and I enjoy keeping track of their final destination. I have pieces in private collections across Canada as well as in the United States, England, Australia, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Latvia, Israel and Crete.

 


 

The Stone and Process

I use a variety of different types of stone. I predominantly use soapstone, geologically known as sedimentary steatite. It is the softest stone I use. The Mohs Scale was devised in 1812 to establish the hardness of various stones and minerals. The diamond, for example, is the hardest at 10. Soapstone is about 2.5. The other stones I use are pipestone (2.5), alabaster (3), and serpentine (3). Soapstone is found all over the world, but I use soapstone from Manitoba and BC most often. Canadian soapstone ranges from greens and reds, to grey and black. Pipestone is a definitive red, and serpentine and alabaster can be found in most natural colours, such as white, green, orangey-pink, reddish, as well as darker colours. Alabaster, although more expensive to buy in raw stone, is one of my favourites to carve, because it gives the appearance of marble when it’s a finished sculpture.

Each sculpture is hand carved and polished, and therefore unique. I start with the natural stone and use a hack-saw to trim away the excess. From there, each piece is shaped by hand with various rasps and files. To eliminate the scratches on the surface, each carving is sanded repeatedly with gradually softer-grade sandpaper, to leave the stone feeling as smooth as if it w ere polished naturally for a million years in a river bed. They are given their shine by excessive heat and a protective coating to bring out the beautiful natural colours of the stone. I carve for the love of the stone, and the challenge of unleashing its inner beauty.