Introducing concrete concepts

A number of local folks keen on a new route to artistic fulfillment met for the second consecutive weekend at a Richview Road property overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The group, led by the multi-talented Shane Sutherland had just got set up and were continuing with various projects when visited by the Sooke News Mirror.

The four-day community education “Sculpting with Concrete” course, offered through Edward Milne Community School takes students through three projects – two of which include the use of moulds.

Sutherland and his wife Beckie moved to Sooke from Calgary a year and a half ago. He has an illustrious background as a sculptor and has major commissions to his credit including works created for the City of Calgary; work done in the Bahamas; for the Disney Corp., and the Detroit Auto Show as well. The skilled stone mason has instructed in the sculpting art in the past and decided to revisit it recently. The three folks on the scene that Saturday morning were clearly enjoying the sociable and creative atmosphere, and it was infectious.

“I was looking through the Edward Milne catalogue,” responded Jan Johnson, an experienced metal sculptor when asked how he ended up looking at the artistic potential of concrete.

“I thought this looked like fun, a chance to learn some new tricks.” Johnson said he can visualize how well concrete and metal can be integrated in future projects.

Sutherland pointed out how different the material can be from what many people picture when they think of concrete. He says it’s much less fluid than the construction grade stuff and a lot of additives, like various acrylics, can be mixed in.

“You can squeeze some into a ball and it’ll keep its shape,” said Sutherland, adding that it can be worked for a while, taking about three hours to set.

Sarah Wilson said she learned of the course after meeting the versatile Sutherland through a different artistic collaboration. She (piano) and Shane (bass guitar) had made up two thirds of the band for the recent Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat production at the EMCS Theatre.

“That’s how I met Shane and I heard he was thinking about doing this. I thought, ‘what a great idea!’ And it’s brilliant… he’s a brilliant teacher.”

Wilson is sold on the free-rein allowed by her sculpting mentor.

“He’s not restricted us to one thing per method,” she related, gesturing to a table-full of creations, seven of which were her own.

“So he’s been very generous with letting students make as many types of things as they want.”

For details on the next time this type of course may be offered you can call the EMCS Program Office at 250-642-6371 or contact Shane – 250-5010, shane@sutherlandstone.com.