A Century of Polar Bears: amazing sculptures in Whistler.

Jon Fathom, the master stone carver and artist, who we found at his town studio in Whistler, British Columbia – Canada, has a passion to create large as life polar bear sculptures in marble.

He expresses his love of the stone through teaching others to share the artistic creation. How did his dream arise? Having received spiritual inspiration, he learnt his art as a young apprentice of a Seattle based stone carver, and then found himself in Ketchikan, the salmon capital of Alaska, where he created a small studio and showroom to serve the many tourists stopping off from the Alaskan cruise liners. During this time, he met a developer who had acquired property on an island off the coast of Prince of Wales Island, specifically Marble Island, where he is developing the small ‘raw’ island.

Over a century ago, these cold North Western islands were known to be potential sources of many non-metallic and non-fuel minerals that are essential to the construction industry. The most well-known is marble slab, from Marble Island, which has a large market potential for facades and flooring, as well as ornamental applications.

The marble of Marble Island was introduced in the early 1900’s to a promoter, Robert Fox, by natives of the area. Fox claimed areas of the island, known to the Natives as Tokeen, and built two huts there. Following a series of claims and counter-claims including a murder, Fox, regained control and did a deal with the Vermont Marble Company then, arguably, the largest marble company in the world. By 1909, marble was being shipped to San Francisco and for 5 years mining and export grew. The mining was maintained until 1926. Then, in 1932, the quarry was re-opened to provide marble for the Fairbanks Federal Building. A third of the marble was stacked and left at the site.

This marble, left at the site totals one hundred and one large blocks of about 4 cubic metres, each weighing about 11 tonnes. It is these that the Ketchikan developer acquired. Jon Fathom has acquired access to these high quality blocks and has shipped three to Whistler.

His plan? It is to carve 100 polar bears. The first was completed after 15.5 months of cutting and carving, scraping and polishing by the two artists and a team of assistants. It was sold to a Toronto collector in 2014. Now Jon’s second majestic bear has been completed and sits in pride of place in the foyer of the Four Seasons Residence Resort in Whistler Blackcomb. See Energitismo’s detailed article on this mother and cubs. The third bear is now ready to be blocked.

Find Jon Fathom at his studio in Whistler and feel what this still young man has achieved and seeks to create through his belief. It is a thrill to speak with him a feel his commitment. Encourage his efforts and enjoy his mastery, particularly the great polar bear sculptures.

To know more visit this: www.fathomstone.com. Search progressively in Energitismo Journal, Atelier, Our Discoveries and Collection for more about Jon Fathom, his team of carvers and his work.