Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about Artist Cindy Presant and her art:
What is your inspiration for carving?
I believe in carving what I know. I have been a keen naturalist all my life, and have worked on the conservation field as well. My home studio is in Norfolk County, an area of Ontario rich with many animal species that are special to me: owls, ducks, turtles swans snakes, frogs, toads, salamanders, and many others. Living right where they do, within the UNESCO Long Point World Biosphere Reserve is especially inspiring.
Where is your studio, and what are your hours?
My home studio is located at 1028 Hwy 59, Port Rowan, on the Long Point Causeway. It is open by appointment, and I also have regular shows in my garage gallery which are promoted on this site.
Do you teach carving?
I have taught basic pendant carving workshops. and may be offering some for 2019. If this interests you, please let me know. I will be posting the information on my site next spring if I decide to offer workshops.
What tools do you use?
At the present time, I am only using hand tools (non-mechanized). These include hand saws, carbon steel chisels and hammers, wood chisels of many types, coarse rasps, and fine riffler rasps. There is something very satisfying about being able to hand saw or chisel a piece of stone down to an animal form.
How do you finish your carvings and pendants?
Carving are covered with tool marks when I are finished carving them. In order to make the surface smooth, and remove those marks, I sand the carving with seven grades of wet/dry sandpaper. My pendants and some other types of hand-held carvings (eg. Toad-stones), are sanded with four grades. This is a time-consuming process. It’s exciting, too, though. As I’m are sanding in water, I can begin to see the colours of the stone and see the carving start to come to life.
After the surface is perfectly smooth and dry, I use 100% pure Tung oil to bring out the colour and veining of the stone. Tung oil is a special drying oil that is plant-based and non-toxic, so I can safely apply it and buff it by hand. Pendants and Toad-stones get 10 coats of oil; a carving will get 15-20 coats, depending on the absorption of the stone. These layers build up a micro-thin patina that enhances the stone’s colour, gives it some water resistance (but don’t keep them outside), and gives it some scratch resistance (but don’t intentionally try to scratch them, please!). After two or three weeks of daily application (sometimes longer for larger carvings), the patina is set and the finish is dry.
What type of packaging do you use?The shipping and gift packaging I have included with your purchase is designed to be re-used. I have tried to make most of it recyclable as well.
- Can be recycled. But you may want to keep it.
- Instead of stickers or coloured dyes, I have hand-stencilled an original design of mine on the kraft gift boxes and smaller shipping boxes.
- Tissue paper can be re-used or recycled (or stencil your own design on it, and then wrap a gift in it).
- Bubble wrap can always be reused (or, if you must, popped, then recycled).
Gold Metallic Gift Bow
- The non-recyclable elasticized metallic and rubber gift bow can be put on, and removed from, a gift box without cutting, then saved and re-used.
- I use a 20lb naturally dyed hemp cord for my pendants. Hemp is amazing plant - it grows quickly, requires few pesticides, and produces a strong fiber. It is increasingly grown in Ontario, although the cord I obtained was not. Hemp has an extremely long history as a valuable fiber that is easily harvested and processed, and can be used for clothing, rope, in building materials, and car panels.
How did you learn to carve?
I am a self-taught carver, but for 12 years before I tried carving soapstone, I was a painter. In 2005, I co-organized an arts and music festival. There were some soapstone carvers there, and for the first time, I realized that it was possible to carve soapstone using hand tools. Shortly after that, I began researching techniques, acquired a piece of soapstone and some tools, and began carving.
When I first started out, I read books about carving, and also checked out websites like Sandy Cline’s for carving instructions and resources. I owe a debt of gratitude to these people, who were so generous about sharing their techniques and sources. These sources were very useful, and showed me how to begin. If you have an interest in carving, I would encourage you to check out sites online.