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Soapstone (steatite) is a soft rock that is found worldwide. Africans have used it for centuries for carving figures and animals and the Eskimos have used it for bowls and other utilitarian and artistic items.

The first Ben Franklin stove was built of soapstone. Because it can retain heat for long periods, soapstone was also used for foot warmers. Today, it can be used as a dry lubricant and in marking lines in welding.

Soapstone comes in all colors from greenish white to black. Soapstone of one consistent color is rare. Most soapstone is variegated or speckled with colors other than its main hue, which adds interesting patterns to the carvings. I try to use the colors and color patterns to enhance my carvings. For example, I like carving bears in stone of one main color and owls in colored patterned stone to bring out the feathered look.

I sand my carvings at least five times by hand with differing grains of sandpaper. The last three are a wet sanding done with 220-600 grain wet/dry sandpaper.

I use boiled linseed oil to bring out the colors of the stone, which takes 2-3 days of repeated applications to Fully saturate the stone. I then buff the stone and put on a protective coating of acrylic or poly-urethane finish.

Larry Eaton

Larry Eaton has been living in Alaska for 31 years and has been carving soapstone for 30 years. He taught elementary school for 20 years and retired from teaching in 1998.

Larry was interviewed by Don Harris on the NBC TODAY SHOW for his unique and realistic soapstone carvings, and has won many awards in juried art and gallery shows in Alaska.

He has traveled extensively to remote Eskimo villages and Alaskan sites to photograph the Alaskan animals that he carves.

Larry is now a full time soapstone carver with his carvings and sculptures available in 10 select Fine Art Galleries and Gift shops in Alaska.

He operates under the business name of "Igloo Arts and Crafts," as igloo is the Alaskan Eskimo word for home, and Larry has always carved in his home or his new detached home studio.

All of Larry Eaton's carvings and sculptures are named and come with a "Certificate of Authencity and Value." Included are the subject of the carving, the name, the retail value and the artist's signature. This certificate is extremely valuable for shipping and insurance purposes.

All carvings can be personally inscribed with the name of the giver and recipient.

"An inadequate sanding and finish can negate the elegance of a really creative carving. Besides, the carving and the finish are a statement of me and my pride of craftsmanship."


Larry Eaton

Phone (907) 248-0032
Fax (907) 245-0039
Email: iglu@alaska.net

3040 Concord Ln.
Anchorage, Alaska 99502-3120

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Direct comments or questions to iglu@alaska.net


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