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Michael Binkley Uses Rainforest Marble for Sculptures

rainforest marble

In 1987, a new stone was brought to the attention of my colleague, Babe Gunn in Port Alberni, BC, Canada. A logging truck driver dropped a piece off to her to try. He said he’d picked it up on one of his hauls down a mountainside on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Babe tried carving the piece and liked it. She got a friend to analyze it at the local university and it was determined to be a serpentinized marble. She told me and another colleague, George Pratt about it. We set about on a gathering trip that summer, after Babe  got permission from the logging company that had rights to the land. We each were successful in getting a pickup truck load of the stone.

As a trio, we felt a catchy name for the marble would be of great benefit and after several failed proposals of Native Indian names, George came up with the word rainforest, after the temperate rainforest from which it came. The “quarry” was a small outcropping about 2 miles up a logging road off the highway near the junction to Tofino and Ucluelet, BC, Canada. It had been exposed during the road’s construction and the site was often shrouded in the mists that pervade on Vancouver Island’s west coast. The name “rainforest marble” was perfect. And it stuck.

Each spring, I would go up and get what the winter freeze had broken away from the wall. A truckload was sufficient supply for me for the year. It has served me well over the years, and has become very popular with my collectors. It has been perfect for my wildlife sculptures.

Sadly, in 1997, the BC Provincial Government began a process to decommission all unused logging roads on Vancouver Island. They started the 20 year project on the road that leads to the rainforest marble quarry. Babe stockpiled as much as she could before the road closed, and I have been able to buy pieces from her until a few years ago.

I have a finite supply now, and within a few years, it will be no more as a medium for me. Unless someone finds a new source!

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