Arabella - - KEVIN PETERS - writ­ten by Sheila Bla­grave

Two early lessons shaped the life and suc­cess of sculp­tor Kevin Peters. He learned that out of hard­ship can come much good and that it is wise to ac­cept the ad­vice of teach­ers. Kevin was only 15 years old when his high school art teacher, John Toews, in­tro­duced him to the medium that would con­sume his life, stone. In class he take it home to com­plete it. When he pre­sented his teacher’s re­sponse was “Where did you pur­chase that?” John Toews en­cour­aged Kevin to try his hand at three more pieces, al­low­ing him to con­cen­trate on sculp­ture in class. Kevin re­sponded with alacrity. His teacher’s next words his works. Young Kevin had very lit­tle no­tion of what an art gallery even was but per­se­vered. He re­calls, “Charisma Gallery, the only gallery in my hometown of Abbotsford, Bri­tish Columbia, con­signed the pieces and sold them all within one week. Be­cause I was only 15, and didn’t have a li­cence, I had to wait to get a ride into town from my par­ents to pick up the cheque. So be­gan my jour­ney into the art world.”

A Life-chang­ing Event

Ever hard work­ing, Kevin of­ten worked mul­ti­ple jobs in con­struc­tion and on the fam­ily farm and then spent his week­ends carv­ing. He notes that he didn’t sleep much and hence had an ac­ci­dent,

but in many ways it was for­tu­itous: “One day at work I fell down two sto­ries off a roof and broke both my feet. This was a bless­ing in dis­guise. I wasn’t able to walk for six months, but could sit at a carv­ing desk and con­tinue to cre­ate. At this point I re­al­ized I was able to make a liv­ing by carv­ing full time. The more I pro­duced, the more de­mand I cre­ated for the work.”

A Mat­ter of Scale

De­mand has in­deed been great for his work. Over the years, Kevin has been com­mis­sioned to cre­ate many works of art and he has de­lighted in creat­ing non-com­mis­sioned work for sale in gal­leries as well. Many of these works have been on a large scale and very pub­lic. One was a multi-mil­lion dol­lar project that con­sumed all of his time for six years and re­mains a land­mark to this day. Even still, Kevin receives lit­tle credit for this mag­num opus. He ex­plains: “I re­ceived a com­mis­sion from a com­pany just out­side Osoy­oos to cre­ate a dozen mon­u­ment-sized bronzes for a de­vel­op­ment lin­ing the Crowsnest High­way. Be­cause my sig­na­ture and cast­ing date are small, van­dals have scratched their

own names along­side mine, claim­ing my work as their own. None­the­less the sculp­tures re­main my big­gest ac­com­plish­ment.” And big they are. Kevin has carved a 12-foot re­clin­ing moose, an 8-foot leap­ing deer, and a 10-foot Sasquatch. An­other of Kevin’s pieces sculpted on a grand scale started out as 2,600 pounds of Koote­nay Chlo­rite. It took three months to chisel out the space be­tween the belly and the base that the large griz­zly stood on. Luck­ily Kevin’s stu­dio, a t wo-story tim­ber from his prop­erty on Wild Horse Moun­tain, is very big and en­ables him to do projects on a grand scale. Once they have been cre­ated and in­stalled, how­ever, they rarely move again.

The Golden Mal­tese Eagle

There is one ex­cep­tion, how­ever. His solid gold Mal­tese Eagle was moved right out from un­der its owner’s nose in a brazen pub­lic rob­bery. Its

theft speaks to its value and its beauty. It took three years to com­plete and re­mains one of the 500 years. The head of the eagle is mounted with over 760 carats of di­a­monds and con­tains a one-of-a-kind Atocha Star Emer­ald from the fa­mous ship­wreck mounted on its base, bring­ing its ap­praised value to be­tween $5 and $9 mil­lion. Kevin says can­didly, “It took 4,000 hours and mil­lions of dol­lars in ma­te­rial to com­plete and only two min­utes to dis­ap­pear. And it is be­com­ing one of our na­tion’s great mys­ter­ies.”


There is no mys­tery, how­ever, to how Kevin de­rives his in­spi­ra­tion. It comes from all around him. From his wife and soul mate, Leanne, whom Kevin says “jumped right in along­side me to build our ranch and make our par­adise” and with whom he lives as close to the earth as pos­si­ble. In­spi­ra­tion also comes from sculp­tors Alexan­der

Shick and Michael Lord, and from the peo­ple who han­dle and sell his work and “mag­i­cally trans­fer their en­ergy over to their clients.”

The Medium is Key

Per­haps the most im­por­tant in­flu­ence on Kevin's art is the medium he uses. He has had suc­cess with bronze and antler, iron and dif­fer­ent steels, bone and fos­silized bone. But his favourite is stone: “When it comes to stone carv­ing, the I will plan my day, some­times all morn­ing, imag­ing into the liv­ing stone. In the af­ter­noon, and well into the night, I re­lease those im­ages.” His ini­tial idea for a piece cre­ated from stone be­gins in the stone yard, when he chooses which boul­der to use. He sees an im­age in the stone and when he gets it back to the stu­dio he be­gins chip­ping away the parts that he knows are not meant to be there. He uses a pro­gres­sion of tools, be­gin­ning with a two-

inch wide stone chisel and cul­mi­nat­ing with

A Di­rect Carver

A di­rect carver, Kevin starts his carv­ing with­out draw­ing any im­ages or guide­lines on the stone. He doesn’t even use ref­er­ence pictures any more. As he puts it, “The im­age is sim­ply trapped in the stone and my mind has adapted to see it and re­move what does not be­long. As the years go by, my mind has de­vel­oped enough to turn the stone to liq­uid, en­abling me in an un­re­lent­ing medium. The se­cret is to try not to over think it, just let it come out. If you be­come afraid of mak­ing mis­takes in your craft, you will never evolve. If you don’t keep evolv­ing, you will never know your full po­ten­tial.” To talk to Kevin Peters and see more of his mag­i­cal work please con­tact him be­low:

Pre­vi­ous Page, Caves of the Haida, part of the Dream Piece Se­ries, stone is Steatite, 22" H x 24”W x 18”D, ap­prox. 156 lbs. Like all Kevin’s work this was carved out of one solid piece of stone. In all his Dream Pieces the very last step is risky. Af­ter he has al­most com­pleted the carv­ing, he places the piece up­side down and hol­lows out the in­side, creat­ing the void/neg­a­tive space.

This Page, left page, the Gold Eagle, 18 lbs of solid gold, 763 di­a­monds, and the 12.72 carat Atocha Star emer­ald. 10" x 3.9". The ap­praised value ranges from 6.4 - 9 mil­lion, de­pend­ing on cur­rent mar­ket val­ues. Be­cause the emer­ald is one of a kind the ap­praisal is The head is made of 18 carats of white gold, and en­crusted with 763 di­a­monds. Eyes are two 1.1 carat match­ing pear shaped di­a­monds. The tail feath­ers are 14 carat white gold. The body, rock and base, are 14 carat yel­low gold. The pedestal on the very bot­tom is 10 carat yel­low gold. The base is mounted with the Atocha Star emer­ald, a 12.72 carat emer­ald, found in the Atocha ship wreck. The Gold Eagle is cur­rently miss­ing. right page, Kevin work­ing on the orig­i­nal wax "Gold Eagle" in his stu­dio at home.

Pre­vi­ous Page, left and right page, Amer­i­can Horse, part of the Dream Piece Se­ries, stone is Steatite. 25"H x 14"W x 16"D, ap­prox. 126 lbs. Pre­vi­ous Page ap­prox. 380 lbs. This Page, left and right pages: 3 im­ages of Cin­na­mon, stone is Steatite, 23" H x 12"W x 10"D, ap­prox. 130 lbs, left im­age - pol­ished, cen­ter im­age - be­fore pol­ish, right im­age – pol­ished. Kevin started this piece as a mother bear and cub, and then re­al­ized the stone had room for her to be hold­ing one more cub if he moved her paw slightly.

Left and right pages: Left page is Jack­son emerg­ing from the stone. Cen­ter is Jack­son al­most carved and ready to move in­side for de­tail­ing. Still work­ing on the paw de­tail. Be­cause this stone was so heavy Kevin be­gan carv­ing it on the ground out­side. Once it was light enough he could lift it on to Jack­son com­pleted and pol­ished. This piece took months to com­plete and only 20 min­utes to sell.

Orig­i­nal boul­der started out at 188 lbs. right page, Caves of the Haida, part of the Dream Piece Se­ries, stone is Steatite, 22”H x 24”W x 18”D, 156 lbs.

All 3 of these im­ages are part of the Dream Piece se­ries. Like all Kevin’s carv­ings, they are carved out of one solid piece of stone. In all the Dream Pieces the very last step is risky. Af­ter he has al­most com­pleted the carv­ing, Kevin will place the piece up­side down and hol­low out the in­side, creat­ing the void/neg­a­tive space.

Pre­vi­ous Page: 4 im­ages of Noah, Sea Ot­ter, stone is Soap­stone, 25.5”H, 160 lbs. Kevin worked on this piece off and on for al­most a year. All one piece of stone. The Star Fish that the Sea Ot­ter is hold­ing is al­most twice as much work as the Sea Ot­ter it­self, be­cause there is Kevin’s favourite and most pop­u­lar im­ages that he cre­ates. This Page: Im­age courtesy of Derek Cain Pho­tog­ra­phy. left page, Kevin work­ing on "Lin­coln" out­side his stu­dio at home. stones that Kevin uses that is sawn from a quarry in square blocks, as he prefers a rounded boul­der shape. BC Chlo­rite is so dark green that it ap­pears black. He of­ten starts these large carv­ings in spring or sum­mer, when the weather is nice enough to work out­side, as they are of­ten too heavy to move in­side be­fore he starts carv­ing.

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