A stone sculpting symposium in Chemainus this weekend is the stepping stone for what’s slated to become an international event as early as next year.
B.C. Marble Products on the Trans-Canada Highway is hosting some of B.C.’s most renowned sculptors Saturday, Sept. 16 and Sunday, Sept. 17 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., including Chemainus’ famous Daniel Cline. The sculptors will be utilizing Vancouver Island marble to make one-of-a-kind creations.
People are being given the opportunity to witness the artists at work from the closest possible vantage point.
“There’s a lot of stone sculptors in this province,” pointed out B.C. Marble Products’ co-owner Tom Smith. “Of course, marble is the ultimate stone for that.”
He foresees great potential for a carving festival along the lines of the Parksville Sand Sculpting Competition that draws thousands of spectators each year.
“What we’d like to do is gear up for an international one next summer,” Smith indicated.
Cline is all for the idea. He’s seen and heard of similar events in Europe and other parts of Canada being huge successes.
“It’s an arts town – let’s get more three-dimensional art,” said Cline. “It should be fairly easy to organize. It’s been done all over already.
“I’m sure that it can happen. Then it can become an annual event and people get used to it and it’s another draw.”
The recent open house at B.C. Marble Products attracted large crowds over two days and people marvelled at the allure of marble.
“It’s another step for us,” noted Smith, who has Steve Thorpe-Doubble as his business partner. “We had such a good response to the carvers, the stone sculptors here.
“People are amazed what you can do with stone. With our equipment, there’s nothing you can’t make with stone.”
The company’s CNC profiling saw will be running for all to see. It has the capability to manufacture any design from pillars up to 14 feet in length to curved slabs and so much more.
Cline has become a resident carver at B.C. Marble Products, giving him a place to work on a regular basis.
“He’s such a good ambassador,” praised Smith. “It’s nice having him here.”
“It’s been fantastic,” noted Cline. “It’s really great to have an opportunity to work in a place like this.”
He’s currently putting the finishing touches on an amazing humpback whale piece that would consume an entire report if he was writing a “How I Spent My Summer Vacation’ essay.
“I think my next piece is going to be a little less complicated,” Cline conceded.
People can view him working on the final stages of the project and see other carvers crafting incredible pieces from slabs of marble.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Cline indicated. “I’ve been up here sort of by myself. Having other artists here will be a nice event.
“It’ll be exciting to see what people come up with. Everyone approaches stone in a different way. Some of them were here before and there’s a few new people. Give them a chunk of stone and let ‘er loose. Let the dust fly.”
After the weekend symposium, Smith said he plans to get right to work on the idea of an international festival because “we have to do it a year in advance.”