Loretta Kyle was born in Hemmingford Quebec and currently resides in Bonnyville,
Alberta. Her background in biological sciences informs her intuitive response
to her materials: she has been scultping full time since 1997 and has exhibited
throughout Western Canada as well as Toronto.
"It is hard to say how long a piece takes. Some pieces are inspired and only take a
very short time and others I have to labour over. Sometimes I think about a piece
for a year before I start to carve the stone and sometimes I get stuck on a
problem half way through and have to leave it until I figure it out. So to answer
the question, it can take me anywhere from one day to two months to a year.
It all depends on the size and hardness of the stone, the depth of detail and
the artistic inspiration."
Click Here or Image to View Lorretta Kyle's Work
I have used different types of stone; Chlorite, Pyrophyllite, BC Soapstone,
Brazilian soapstone, African Kisii stone, and Quebec Serpentine. The soapstone
has a hardness of one on the Mohs scale and damages easily. I prefer to use
Kisii stone and serpentine. The Kisii stone has a hardness of only two but itís
fine grain takes detail very well. Serpentine has a hardness of three/four and
cannot be scratched by fingernails like soapstone can. I also like how this stone
has a fleshy appearance. The finer the grain of the serpentine the harder it is
and the better it is for fine detail.
I hope to try marble next. It has a hardness of four/five. Diamond has a hardness
of ten. I buy the stone from Bedrock Supply in Edmonton or get it shipped
from Neolithic Stone in Vancouver, British Columbia. It comes in cut blocks
or irregular chunks. I choose the stone for its colour and shape when I have a piece
in mind but for birds I buy random shapes and let the stone tell me what it is.
Sometimes a chunk of stone shows me the whole sculpture at once or I might only
see a neck or beak to start with and the rest of the piece reveals itself as I work.
There are times when I canít let the bird out of the stone fast enough.
The equipment that I use consists of an air compressor with a 90 gallon tank and
a seven horsepower motor, air chisel, die grinder, dremel, coarse and fine files,
wood carving knives, saws, and sand paper. I sand the stone with 80grit then
100 grit dry sand paper then use 220, 320, 400, and 600grit wet paper. When
all scratches are gone, I wax the piece (Kisii stone), oil it with tung oil and
then wax it (Brazilian soapstone and serpentine). I have been sculpting since
1987, full time since 1997. I was given a piece of Jade jewelry when I was little
and I remember thinking, this is what I want to do when I grow up. Jade is
very hard and I would need different (costly) equipment than I have now but
itís on the wish/goal list.