I started carving stone in 1996, when I was teaching in Salluit, a small Inuit community in Nunavik, Northern Quebec. The carvings that various people brought by our door to sell intrigued me, and I bought a few. Although I had never really done anything in the visual arts before, other than molding plastecine figures, I was curious about the process of making a carving, and wanted to try it out for myself if possible. I asked the closest resource I had available at the time, my students, what it takes to get started. One of my fourth graders, Adamie, was quick to offer a piece of stone that his father "wasn't using".
It wasn't long before he and his younger brother took me to the Co-op store and pointed out the basic tools I would need to carve: a hacksaw, a set of three chisels, a rasp, and two or three files - all of which I still use. I got to work on the stone that evening in my living room, planning to follow a popular genre in Salluit - a seal on a rock. I enjoyed the task, and the tiny piece of stone turned into a lizard on a rock in about two and a half hours. After that, there was no turning back; I got the carving bug, and had to continue. I used the rest of Adamie's stone, and then was given a large piece by a friend, Mark Alaku. Along with a piece of raw soapstone that I noticed being used as a doorstop by a fellow teacher, I had enough material to make several carvings.
When I came back "down South" and finished up the large pieces of Salluit stone I began looking for other sources, and, with some research and good luck, found stone that I could work with within driving distance of my home in Aylmer, Quebec. Along with some stone that has been given to me by friends and family, I now have a nice variety of colour and hardness of stone to work with. Collecting stones from as many different places as possible gives me the ability to choose the shape and colour of stone that fits an idea I have, and the variety in itself opens up possibilities and ideas to me.
My early work was very much inspired by Inuit art, focussing on wildlife themes, although the wildlife I was familiar with differed from the Arctic landscape. As time goes on, I have been experimenting with different techniques, inlays, bases, and so on, as well as with different themes. My more recent work is based on human relationships, and with the balance we need to find with each other and within ourselves. This work is heavily influenced, of course, by my own experience as a father and a teacher.