In my carvings sometimes it isn’t the tiny details that matter but, the feeling. This bear is called “Phelps”. I pictured him swimming to get somewhere. Head looking forward paw scooping up the water as he goes. Powerful strokes.
This may be Brazilian soapstone (and it is) making the bear a tawny colour with black spots but Phelps doesn’t need to be white or versions of to give the viewer the impression that it is a polar bear and he’s not a baby bear.
The small hint of ears and narrow jaw say polar bear but without knowing that he still isn’t a round faced grizzly.
The beauty of carving in stone is to give the viewer an impression and let each person fill in the blanks and the story.
If you would like to see the full photo of Phelps and my other finished pieces of art please visit my website;
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Yes, lots of people want to feel my stones. My soapstone.
I even like to feel it and I have been doing this for more than a decade now. The part I like best is turning the stone over and over and finding the eagle or bear inside. Discovering which way the head wants to turn or if the eye should be beady.
It’s all about the feel in order to carve stone.
It doesn’t hurt that the customers want to reach out and feel the pieces too.
Both of these pieces have a clear coat of lacquer so that they have protection from rings and other minor potential scraps but even without that, soapstone is soft .
Anyone who feels the stone one the rough edges have been sanded or filed off is amazed how soft a hard rock can feel. Smooth as silk maybe but, it is a rock.
If you would like to see more of my finished pieces please visit my website;
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As it should be I think.
My Father in Law bought me that Tee shirt many years ago and although I am not one for printed shirts – unless they say Johdan Stone Art, I wear it with my carving clothes.
Everyone should have something they love to do whether they get paid for it or not. Of course , it works much better when you can make a living doing your passion. I have heard many local artists express concern about the social media and beating the bushes for sales which takes away from them actually completing the art.
I am in 100% agreement with that sentiment . For me to live is to carve, to think of how to get my art out there – not so much. I think what we all might need is a Millennial to adopt us and take over; Twitter, Instagram, Snap chat, Analytics, and all of the other things that gets our art in front of people.
I guess I am saying Adopt Me like a rescue animal and then I can Eat, Sleep and Carve.
Until then, I will post as I can and get the word out there that there is a stone carve in your midst.
I like rocks, stones, boulders but, I LOVE turning boulders into bears
There is something about working with my hands and my imagination at the same time that gives me the biggest thrill. It is a type of magic to make stone art. Soapstone is especially good to work with because of the colours and the softness relative to other stones. I am not always carving bears but, a lot of the time there are bears. I have been asked to carve; squirrels, musk ox, penguins, wolves, snakes, turtles, eagles and non.
I enjoying turning boulders into anything really even a little stack that looks like an inukshuk makes me happy.
Do what you love.
If you would like to see more of my finished work or commission me to carve something just for you, please visit my website at
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Having balance is not easy. This bear doesn’t have his hands up or one foot but, he is still balanced. It just takes one sixteenth of an inch too much or too little to make him keep over like a bad drunk.
The beauty of making stone art is that it looks easy after the fact to people that view it but, the puzzle or working out the math makes every carving unique for me to work on.
Soapstone is both very dense and very soft. Heavy and it will get a compression dent by the least pressure from a tip over or even a sharp finger nail. This bear has a coat of lacquer that I would use on race cars and he is less likely to get knocked over than one of the dancing bears that is on one foot. The person picking up a sculpture should really make sure they know how to put it back or there is potential for disaster and a trip to the bear repair shop.
Damaged carvings never come out the same. Balance is everything.
If you would like to check out more of my work. Please visit my website: http://www.johdanstoneart.com
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The stone isn’t actually broken.
The bear won’t fall apart along the line of light and dark but, it does either give it an air of fragility or maybe one of the characters from the Batman comics – TwoFace.
This guy came out more like a teddy bear than a grizzly and the transparency I think lends a lot to the idea it’s okay and touch this piece of art.
He definitely has a personality, and a heft from the weight of the stone.
Big bears don’t have to be scary and this guy is not cracked.
If you would like to see more of my finished work, please visit my website:
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This bear is happy. Most dancing bears, if not happy seem content. It has a lot to do with the dancing pose but, I think equally as much to do with a happy carver.
Happy carver, happy life.
When someone is contented and fulfilled with what they do , it might be that it comes out in their work. In the non-stone, flesh and bone bear world , standing on hind legs could mean teeth bared for business and very sharp claws at the ready.
Not so with any of my dancing bears. They want to be touched, admired, and, for you to feel centered and contented. even if for a few minutes.
I don’t think there are two many people that can view this bear and not think at least one happy thought.
My job is done, at least for today.
If you would like to see more of my finished work, please visit my website at: http://www.johdanstoneart.com
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I have never really thought of myself as a rock hound or a gear head. I like to work with my hands and I can see what might be.
Both of these traits work for being an artist and working on cars. One sixteenth of an inch can make all the difference in speed on a race track and the same relatively tiny dimension can make a dancing bear balance perfectly on one foot.
Labels can be limiting so I would say I am just a carver. Stone, ice, essentially anything that will stay in one place.
Being colour blind my paintings are either right on what you would expect or way off so I will stick with stone.
If you would like to see my finished carvings and more about my artistic life, please visit my website; http://www.johdanstoneart.com
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So many people have asked when I have been at shows and gallery events; but what does the stone look like before you lacquer and sand it
This 1/2 done bear probably opens up more questions than it answers but, one side is fully finished and shows the depth of blackness in Canadian soapstone and the other side is sanded but not 100% finished.
I am okay leaving this bear as is . Not everyone would be. There are a lot of ; when are you going to finish it, it would like nice either all grey or all black.
Maybe it is the ‘boy’ in this carving man but, people have asked about the stages and so here they are , all in one bear.
Many years ago at a show I had 4 bears in the 4 big stages of carving . They were sold off one at a time, as is to 4 different people. So no more teachable moment with a variety of bears.
One day someone will think that this bear speak to them and it will go to a forever home.
If you would like to see more of my 100% finished work please visit my website at
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There is something about making something you really love out of raw materials. A carpenter, a chef any number of people feel the same as I do as a stone artist.
No one gave me the parameters to put a bear head in the middle of two eagles , or which hunk of rock to use as the canvas but, it works.
There is something about the lines and colours in soapstone and my imagination that makes it the perfect fit. And when it’s not a perfect fit I can re-carve the hunk of stone into something else or grind it down to dust.
Nothing is permanent even stone but the freedom to create is priceless.
If you would like to see more of my finished work , please visit my website
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