Artist of the Month – Terry Schaub, Stone Sculptor

by Sandra Marshall

A most important aspect for Terry is that his sculpture tell a story – to inspire, to captivate, and draw people in – to ask questions. He wants the work to have an intention and a feeling and hopefully elicit a response.  A great example of that is when he noticed a young boy stick out his tongue in response to the outstretched tongue of a sculpture. He loves that his works raise a reaction from the viewer.

The love for the work was soon recognized by galleries and collectors. In 2006 he had his first show. Since that time he has been in multiple galleries and has seen his pieces bought by collectors from around the globe. In 2011 his piece, “It’s The Little Things”, was presented at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and now resides in their Museum of Nature and Culture in Montreal. The next year,  he was commissioned by CFB Trenton to commemorate the return of a WW2 bomber to its home base. The stone sculpture which was presented to HRH Prince Edward for his private collection.

Terry started buying rough stone from Ottawa suppliers and then built himself a studio, attached to his home. In time he started importing stone from different countries. He warehouses a large quantity of rocks from which he selects the one which most speaks to him through its veining, incidental colours, form and size. He might sketch some ideas on paper and sometimes, to get the creative juices flowing, he may mark the stone with a sinuous line to set his cutting direction. Making bigger pieces is a challenge that makes him happy. For the crouching-bear-and-orca piece that he is working on now, the ice slab alone weighs 80 pounds.

In 2019 at age 52, Schaub required major surgery for metastasized cancer. He spent the next day, his 53rd birthday, in a hospital bed wondering if he was going to live. He credits his wife, Kelly, for the fact that he did survive. Recovery was long and hard. It was another turning point for his life and his art.

Though he was putting almost full-time hours into the art at that point, he decided to leave 3M  and make art his sole focus.

Each stone has unique qualities: East Indian soapstone has an incredible variety of colour.  The harder stones such as alabaster, chlorite and fluorite are more challenging to carve. All of the stones take a commitment of time. The harder the stone, the more intricate the carving, the more time it takes to complete the piece. Once the rock is chosen, the hard work begins. He studies it for its shape, balance, contours, holes and other features.

Terry Schaub feels at peace when he is carving. He might work from early morning without breakfast and rarely stops for breaks. One day he was in that flow and remembers when his wife came to knock on the door and asked him if he had finished yet. He thought that it was almost suppertime. She surprised him by saying ‘’No, its midnight.’’

Rough shaping begins with reciprocating saws and a large angle grinder with an 8 inch diamond blade. Then he might use an electric Foredom tool, for which he estimates he has about 200 bits, and shaped files called rifflers for smaller details. Then a marathon of sanding starts- often more than a week to work through different coarseness of sandpaper from #200, #300, #400 grit to the finest #2000 as he smooths the surfaces. It has taken him time to appreciate the long periods of sanding. The small changes made by each higher grit becomes a lesson in patience and a time for reflection. Then he reaches the magic time when the sheen appears on his sculpture.  Polishing brings out the colours and veining. He adds beeswax, tung or linseed oil, clear coat lacquer or rendered fat to give the work a sheen and bring out the rich colours that the rock previously lay hidden.

Terry has exhibited his work in at NCNS show in the Museum of Nature many other galleries such as OWAA , Shenkman Art Center, Gallery on the Lake, Remington Art Museum in NY,  O’Connor Gallery, Gallery 6, NAK’s Ottawa Gallery and Patrick John Mills.

As most artists know, Covid stalled everything. People were not spending on art, so it is now a time to reboot with new works.

Terry suggests that, to a newcomer to this art, education and experience are not necessary to start the journey, but the love to create is essential. Persistance is required!

For more of Terry’s work visit:

About NCNS admin

The National Capital Network of Sculptors (NCNS) is a non-profit corporation founded in 1984, with a mandate to increase awareness and appreciation for the sculptural arts in the National Capital region. It draws its membership from a wide artistic community in the greater Ottawa area, which consists of both professional and talented amateur sculptors. Our member's work ranges from figurative to abstract to installation art and incorporates such mediums as stone, wood, bronze, steel, plaster, clay and mixed media.
This entry was posted in art classes, Art Shows, Art Workshops, Artist of the Month, Canadian Stone Carving Festival, clay artists, clay sculpture, Exhibition Opportunities, Member Event, Member Profiles, Network Show, Online Art Gallery, sculpting workshops, Sculpture events, sculpture show, Stone Carver, stone carving, stone sculpture, The national capital network of sculptors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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