students during a three-week carving class in Finland (2004)
The first week of classes were held in Lappeenranta in southeast Finland.  The stone being carved is Finnish
soapstone using hand tools.  Most of the tools were
woodworking tools because few stone carving tools
that were available were all made for working the
other stone quarried in Finland: granite.
Hanna Mattila
rasping the
form to shape
Tanja Waser using an abrasive rubbing stone to smooth the surfaces
Tanskanen carving with a mallet and chisel
Headmaster (Dean) Juhani Järvinen, visits the studio.
William Dinnesuk (in the baseball cap) visits the studio to see how things are progressing.
Heini Maaranen examines
the edge on her chisel
Jari Santaniemi carving with
hammer and
Kristiina Pellinen, carving with hammer and chisel,
was one of the few students that had worked with stone before taking the class.  She worked at a nearby mill, learning to fabricate furniture and ovens from soapstone.
Soapstone is impure talc - a very soft mineral that
can be scratched with the
The soapstone we carved
here in Finland is slightly
harder, carving similarly
to Indiana limestone,
though soapstone can be
polished to a high gloss.
Finnish soapstone is widely known as the premium material for producing ovens, stoves, and cooktops.