Photo of the Month "Mercury" is carved from Brazilian Soapstone and depicts a grizzly bear searching the horizon for her cubs. October 3, 2023 #yycLCL Photo of the Month Transforming soapstone into art Greg Tomkins My name is Greg Tomkins, I grew up in Montreal and relocated to Calgary 25 years ago. My professional career was as a mechanical design draftsman in the petrochemical sector in Quebec and then the oil and gas industry here in Alberta. Drafting allowed me to experience the artist in me as I was creating industrial drawings and I loved every minute of it. Having a career as an artist was always a dream for me, and only recently have I had the opportunity to pursue that dream. As an artist today, I have chosen soapstone as my canvas to express my creativity and have enjoyed working with the different stones and their varying textures and colours. Soapstone is a natural material that has laid untouched for thousands and thousands of years and I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to transform this raw form into something that can be admired by all. Each piece of stone has its own character and challenges and the artist needs to address these very carefully throughout the design and execution phases of the project to achieve the desired result. The final product is never really achieved until the sanding, polishing and finishing touches are complete and the true beauty of the stone is brought out and revealed. “Misty” is a black bear carved from South African Wonderstone and shows a mother on the prowl for supper. “Sunny” is a female polar pear, scanning the ice flow for seals, carved from Italian Alabaster. My preferred subject matter is bears. Polar, grizzly and black bears. They are all incredible creations of nature, and deserve to be appreciated and admired. I hope that my art will bring awareness to the ongoing threat to their habitat. I also wish that my stone carvings will inspire others to look at mother nature in a new perspective and see the beauty that comes from the earth below our feet, and the magnificent creators that dwell above it. I hope you enjoy my work as much as I have enjoyed creating it for you. Greg Tomkins is constantly in a creative mode, either through his soapstone carving, his past wood carving, or being a member of an art collective in Cochrane (Route 22 Art Collective) or as President of the Nickelodeon Music Club. Follow him on Instagram or visit his website gregscarvings.com to view more of his work. Have a photo or artwork to share? From features to podcasts, The Storytelling Project raises awareness about Calgarians who, by living creative lives, are making Calgary a better city, affecting positive change and enriching others’ lives. Tag your Instagram photos with #yycLCL for a chance to be featured in our Photo of the Month series.