We are a family business and third generation stone carvers who create do-it-yourself soapstone carving kits for all ages made from Brazilian soapstone! We believe anybody, at any age can carve soapstone. We have assembled kits with animal shapes based on Canadian animals. The shapes have been roughly outlined so it gives you a starting point.
Our family has been working with children and organizations for almost 50 years. For three generations we have imported raw Brazilian soapstone for carvers all over Canada through our families store www.bedrocksupply.ca.
Jennifer's soapstone carvings can be seen at www.jennifercornelius.com.
We currently supply our kits wholesale to various retail stores, museums, groups, organizations and camps. Contact us for wholesale information. Teachers, please click on our teachers page.
What is Soapstone
Soft, No Grain, Easy to Carve. Colour tendency: Dark Green to Light Brown & Mixes
Soapstone's use dates back to antiquity: early Egyptians carved it into scarabs and seals; in China and India it was used for ornaments, implements and domestic utensils. Soapstone has been a carving medium for thousands of years, historically used by the Inuit, Native Americans, Vikings, and many other cultures in places such as Africa, the Middle East, Asia and South America. In Brazil— especially in Minas Gerais— due to the abundance of soapstone mines in that Brazilian state, local artisans still craft objects from that material, including pots and pans, wine glasses, statues, jewel boxes, coasters, vases, etc.
Soapstone is found throughout the world in relatively small deposits ranging from small rocks to seams, boulders and other deposits. We use Brazilian Soapstone in our kits. It has the widest color variety and is the easiest to carve and is certified asbestos free.
Because soapstone is easy to carve, it is a very popular stone for beginner carvers. It can even be scratched with your fingernail! Pretty much any tool can be used to carve soapstone, including sandpaper, files, rasps, chisels, gravers and power tools. After the carving and sanding is complete, we use Tung Oil to polish the finished sculpture. Stone colors vary and will come out during final polishing.
Also known as steatite or soaprock, soapstone is a metamorphic rock, a talc-schist. It is largely composed of the mineral talc and is thus rich in magnesium. It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism and metasomatism, which occurs in the areas where tectonic plates are subducted, changing rocks by heat and pressure, with influx of fluids, but without melting. Soapstone can absorb, store and evenly radiate heat due to its high density and magnesite content. Our soapstone is certified asbestos free.
Colour varies from white to greenish grey and dark green. It is soft (1-2 on the Mohs scale), with a specific gravity of 2.2-2.8, but these properties vary with type and amount of impurities. Soapstone has a greasy feel (hence the name), can be ground to a powder or carved, has a high fusion point, low electrical and thermal conductivity, superior heat retention and high lubricating power. It is chemically inert.
Soapstone in Canada
Soapstone is found in Québec, Ontario, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. Canada's first production was in 1871 from a deposit in the Eastern Townships, Qué. Canadian production of soapstone and talc comes from underground and open-pit mines in Québec (Broughton and South Bolton) and Ontario (Madoc and Timmins). Canada is a minor producer, behind the world leaders, Japan and the US. Block soapstone for the northern carving industry is quarried from deposits adjacent to Baffin Island (Markham Bay and Qikiqtarjuaq) and scattered localities in the North. Annual production of 500-1000 t is supplemented by sculpture-grade soapstone from Québec producers who also supply hobby shops and sculptors in southern regions.
Brazilian Soapstone Color Range
Soapstone Cut Out Carved and Sanded Oiled
We use Brazilian soapstone in our kits because it has the greatest color range in the world and is reliably soft and easy to carve. Brazilian soapstone is consistently asbestos free. We continually test and can provide you with our latest test reports. When it is in its raw from, it looks a dusty grey white color. The color then comes out after the carving is shaped and sanded, once oil or wax is applied to the surface. This is the best part of the experience of soapstone carving! Due to that, we cannot pick you out an exact color. It is a total surprise once you are done carving.
Indigenous Carving in Canada
We work with various indigenous communities and organizations who have asked us to cut the Inukshuk. An inukshuk is a structure made of stones piled on top of each other. Inukshuks were used for navigation in the frozen north where, in the snow, everything could look the same. They were also used to mark sacred places. An inukshuk could also work like a signpost to make a good hunting or fishing spot. These structures are found in northern Canada, Greenland, and Alaska. This kit is used to teach grade two students across Canada about the Inuit culture.
We do not presume to teach in the northern style of stone carving. We leave that up to the Indigenous communities of Canada and the United States. We are constantly asked for stone teachers who want to share their cultural style which we cannot provide. Please message us if you teach soapstone carving so we can forward your information to interested groups and organizations.
We donate thousands of pounds of stone a year to various groups and organizations looking to help teach their culture within their communities. If you are looking for stone for your group or organization please contact us!
If you are looking for Indigenous Carvers please check out this link.