Michael Binkley has over 40 years experience as a professional, self-represented stone sculptor and has designed several courses suitable for beginners to advanced students. He has been an instructor at several international stone sculpture symposia and taught stone carving on luxury cruise ships. He is frequently asked to join lecture series and his vast experience has great value for all Artists. He has been complimented on his gentle and inclusive approach to teaching, and he is excited about having a full sculpting facility in which to give instruction.
Many artists begin their foray into stone sculpture using soapstone, but Michael does not work in this medium. He will introduce you to the world of stone sculpture through alabaster, limestone, marble and granite as your medium. All aspects of creating sculpture will be addressed – from choosing your block and conceptualizing a composition through to carving and polishing your creation. Michael has a very calm, inclusive and flexible approach to teaching and class size is small to ensure detailed individual attention.
There are three types of courses available, plus a mentorship program, depending on your skill level – from neophyte to experienced carver.
Where are these workshops held?
Michael teaches at his own studio in Squamish, BC, Canada which is located about 45 minutes drive north of Vancouver, in the Sea to Sky corridor. Nestled beneath the commanding Stawamus Chief, the second largest granite monolith in the world, Squamish is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada, and is often referred to as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’. North America’s largest ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb is 45 minutes drive north of Squamish, where a portion of the 2010 Winter Olympics were held. This, combined with microbreweries, restaurants and a burgeoning arts scene make Squamish a wonderful destination to explore – and to learn to carve stone!
Binkley Studio Ltd. is located north of downtown Squamish, just a few blocks west of the Sea to Sky Highway #99.
What approach and method does Michael use in teaching his workshops?
Michael has noticed the decline in available stone sculpting courses in traditional universities, so he is adopting the Atelier Tradition of the late 19th Century, and he seeks to fill that void with stone sculpting workshops led by a practicing, professional artist in a working studio.
In the late 1800s in Paris, France, groups of students of the l’École des Beaux-Arts augmented their studies by renting their own studios, and invited a practicing professional artist to lead them. These included the fields of painting and sculpting and the practice was widespread until the early 1900’s, when the modern university system was established.
In the Atelier Tradition, Binkley has crafted various syllabi to be viewed as broad strokes of learning, but he is flexible and easily able to adjust to each student’s needs. In other words, you will not learn by rote.
Are meals included in my workshop?
A box lunch will be provided each day and we can accommodate for some dietary requests. Morning and evening meals are not included. There is unlimited tea, coffee and water available as self-service throughout the day. We also have a microwave for your use.
I don't live in Squamish, is accommodation included?
No, accommodation is not included, however there are many opportunities for such in Squamish. Let us know your requirements and we can suggest accommodation options for you.
How physically fit do I need to be to take a workshop?
Carving at Michael’s studio requires standing on a concrete floor for a few hours at a time. While stone carving can be strenuous, Michael will supervise you so that you maintain a level of comfort that suits you. You do not have to be ultra fit to learn to carve stone!
What is the highway like from Vancouver to Squamish?
The Sea to Sky Highway #99 is a beautiful stretch of road that winds along the east side of Howe Sound with an epic view of the Salish Sea. Upgraded for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, it is a mostly 2 lane road in each direction between Vancouver and Squamish. The views of the ocean, mountains, forests and sky are breathtaking. Michael finds the commute to be inspiring for his creative juices.
One note is M+S or Three Peak Mountain Snowflake rated tires are required on your vehicle from October 1 to March 31 every year to travel on this highway. The RCMP have regular road checks during this period.
What does a typical workshop day look like?
Workshops run Tuesday to Saturday, and each day, the session starts at 9am and ends at 4pm. We strive to find the balance between structure within the day and keeping things organic to allow for an easy workflow.
- 8:30 – 9:00 arrive/coffee
- 9:00 – 12:00 teaching, discussion & carving time (includes a short bio break)***there is a mandatory safety talk on the first day
- 12:00 – 1:00 lunchtime
- 1:00 – 3:30 carving time
- 3:30 – 4:00 clean up and wind down
What other costs should I budget for?
- personal insurance
- travel expenses
- meals other than lunches
What is the payment schedule?
Upon booking, a 25% non-refundable deposit is required. The balance is due 21 days before the first day of your workshop. We accept Visa, M/C and AmEx credit cards, eTransfer or Wire Transfer as payment. Payments will be processed in Canadian dollars and the 5% GST will be applied.
What is the cancellation policy?
- Cancellations between 11 – 20 days before the start of your workshop will receive a 75% refund. The 25% deposit upon initial booking is non-refundable.
- Cancellations between 1 – 10 days before the start of your workshop will not receive a refund.
- In the case of Binkley Studio Ltd cancelling, we reserve the right to offer alternative date(s) or the full refund will apply, included the deposit.