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  /    /  Kelpie


  • created 2020
  • nephrite jade & glass
  • 18”H x 13”W x 8”D    (46cmH x 33cmW x 20cmD)
  • private collection, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

I have carved this stylized female torso from beautiful nephrite jade that was quarried in northern British Columbia, Canada and mounted it on a glass base with a special edge to emulate water.

I have carved a long series of torso sculptures in my career that have thighs that flow into abstract forms that look like a long dress. The effect is to carve my favourite subject matter – the human nude, but these torso sculptures appear to be clothed. I can celebrate the curves of the female form, but details such as buttocks and nipples are omitted.

The pose of this figure suggested that I mount her as though she was swimming, slowly descending as she looks over her right shoulder into the depths. As nephrite jade is so hard and strong, I’ve carved the edges of her skirt very thin to exploit the stone’s translucent quality. The undulating curves suggest seaweed swaying in water current, and inspired me to think of Kelpies. Kelpie originates in Scottish legend as animate seaweed that can alter form to resemble a woman or a horse.

British Columbia nephrite jade is coveted for its spectacular green colour, often accented with minerals to give it depth. This particular piece shows evidence of chromium as flecks of electric green, calcium in the white lightning bolt and iron in the black of the figure’s right hip. Jade is best presented in a highly polished state to accentuate all these details.

Is she human, or a mermaid? Take a closer look again at the photos….