Kathy Freeman, Soap Stone Sculptor

Kathy Freeman is a soap stone sculptor, who resides in St. Andrews, Mb.

Heather Bailey, RRNT, Tourism Coordinator, came across Freman’s sculptures, while looking at pictures of the winning artists of the Interlake Juried Art Show.

After you read all about Freeman, head over to RRNT’s YouTube channel to meet her and see pictures of her amazing art.  https://youtu.be/TDFqmigelHc

“Kathy Freeman has been sculpting since the age of 14.  She had training in the “Sculpt 2000” program at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C. under the mentorship of Canadian postwar and contemporary artist, Mr. Jean-Guy Dallaire. Now, at 56 years of age, she finds it hard to believe that she has been sculpting seriously for over 30years, as well as repairing damaged modern and antique stone sculptures. Freeman loves the challenge of showing movement and emotion in static sculptures.  

Freeman is a member of The Manitoba Society of Artists, The Manitoba Arts Network and The Selkirk Community Arts Centre (Gwen Fox Gallery), and has had many successful exhibitions of her soapstone carvings. She has won numerous awards and ribbons over the past 8 years, and – now finds there is considerable demand for saleable pieces. Recently, she has felt a calling towards the more abstract and experimental, and she plans to explore along these lines. Freeman will also continue adding to her portfolio of happy, anthropomorphic stone creatures, while rolling around the idea of creating limited edition copies of some of her more popular pieces.

Being a competitive artist, Freeman is proud of her wins.

She began seriously competing in 2012. Here; here are some of her accomplishments: 

*1st PLACE in Sculpture @ 2012 Interlake Juried Art Show “Laughing Wolf”

*2nd PLACE overall @ 2012 Manitoba’s Rural & Northern Juried Art Show “Laughing Wolf”

*3rd PLACE & Honorable Mention in Sculpture @ 2015 Interlake Juried Art Show “Octopus” & “Narwhal” 

*2nd PLACE in Sculpture @ 2016 Interlake Juried Art Show “Happy Whale”

*3rd PLACE in Sculpture @ 2016 Interlake Juried Art Show “Maybe Next Year” (Young Male Walrus)

Kathy’s 2018 multi award winning piece entitled, “Contented Seal” has placed in the following shows, as well as having been chosen by  Manitoba Arts Network to join other  artists’ works as part of a year and a half long tour of the province. 

*1st PLACE in Sculpture @ 2018 Interlake Juried Art Show “Contented Seal”

*BEST IN SHOW @ 2018 Rural and Northern Juried Art Show “Contented Seal”

* WILLIAM J BIRTLE AWARD FOR SCULPTURE @ 2018 Manitoba Society of Artists OJCE show. “Contented Seal” 

Freeman often supports charity fundraisers, with donations of sculptures to art auctions:

In 2015 the Brazilian soapstone sculpture “Laughing Wolf”, was donated to the

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s annual “Black & White Ball” Charity Art Auction.

In 2016, the Brazilian soapstone sculpture “Maybe Next Year” was donated to the

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s annual “Black & White Ball” Charity Art Auction.

In 2017, the pink Italian alabaster sculpture “Intertwined Snakes” was donated to the

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s annual “Black & White Ball” Charity Art Auction

In 2016, the Brazilian stylized soapstone sculpture “Proud Seal” was donated to the

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s annual “Black & White Ball” Charity Art Auction. 

Freeman has twice donated sculptures for auction in support of the Selkirk Heritage Endowment Fund. The annual income generated by the fund is currently granted to the Marine Museum of Manitoba. Once the Selkirk Museum is formally incorporated, the SHEF income will be used to support its operations.  She has donated many hours of service in support of the Interlake Juried Art Show, the Interlake Art Board and the Interlake Art Board Mural Project.

Freeman has had numerous single artist exhibitions and member shows at the Gwen Fox Gallery. She has exhibited twice at Warehouse Artworks  in the MSA’s 2017 & 2018 OJCE shows, and the 2020 MSA’s online OJCE show. She is looking forward to a joint showing at the Selkirk Community Arts Centre in the summer of 2021, Covid situation willing.”

RRNT: How did you get started?

KF: “The first time I recall trying to shape an object was when I was about 6 years old. We lived in Vancouver B.C. The older houses there had wooden eaves-troughs. I discovered a broken piece in our yard, what a find! I sneaked into the house and “borrowed” my father’s pocket knife, thinking that if I shaved down the ends of the trough, they would (magically) come together and I would have a toy canoe! Ha ha, I guess I didn’t think that through very well. In grade eight and nine, then living in Surrey, B.C. my favorite class was Art, not because it was an “easy” credit, but because I loved it, especially when we were modelling with clay. I didn’t have much confidence in my abilities at that time, but I do remember an incident in class when we were learning to build up cups and things with the “rope coil” method. All of a sudden about six kids were watching me work. I was trying to make an open mouthed frog kitchen scrubby holder. At that time they were the rage for people to paint at ceramic green-ware shops. One of the kids asked how I could know what to do next and I think I said I could see it in my head. That was my first memory of my work making an impression on others. In my early 20’s, I bought some raw soapstone and immediately carved a huge “Whale’s Tail” with a leather mallet and two chisels, some sandpaper and wax, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve had some training in Vancouver through Langara College with my mentor, Mr. Jean-Guy Dallaire (Professional Sculptor, Photographer and teacher of the “Sculpt 2000” method of sculpting in foam and wax to produce bronze pieces.)” 

RRNT: Where do you find your inspiration?

KF: “When working in stone, my most common medium, I get my inspiration from the shapes and colors of the raw stone itself. I study a piece of stone, rolling it over into different positions until I “see” something in the stone. I lean towards marine animals as the sleekness of them lends itself well to finishing them exceptionally smooth and shiny, which is my preference.” –

RRNT:  What is your favorite piece?

KF: “At the moment, I’d have to say that my favorite piece is my multi-award winning soapstone sculpture entitled “Contented Seal”. This cuddly looking seal seem to tug at the heart strings of all who encounter it.”

RRNT: Where can people find your pieces on display and to purchase them?

KF: “I mainly show my pieces online, on my Facebook Page, “Kathy Freeman Sculpture”. I am a member of the Gwen Fox Gallery/Selkirk Community Arts Centre, and at times I do have pieces in the gift shop for sale, I also sell during solo, joint, and all member shows at the gallery. I am not a prolific sculptor, preferring quality over quantity, and I am at the moment, trying not to sell everything I make in order to have enough for a show of my own at some point in the next few years. I am also looking/hoping to be represented in “Downtown Big City” type of gallery, in Winnipeg, and/or my hometown of Vancouver, B.C.”

RRNT: Anything you would like people to know about you? About your art?

KF: “I will do, and have done commissioned work. When I take on a commission, I never make a client commit to buying until the piece is completed, and they are happy with it, and the price. I have not as yet had a client turn down a piece, but I don’t worry about that. I’ve never had trouble selling my work, although I do have trouble saying goodbye to my “babies” LOL.

Also I would like people to know that I do repair work on contemporary and antique/historic soapstone sculptures.”

Find Kathy@ Kathy Freeman Sculpture (https://www.facebook.com/Kathy.Freeman.Sculpture)

Email:  kathyfreemansculpture@yahoo.ca