Soapstone carver and artisan, Ronald Leach, makes carvings in a variety of styles, including abstract and surrealistic. Most of his work is created with Canadian soapstone from Quebec or B.C., but he may also use Spanish or Italian alabaster. Work begins by cutting the stone with a bowsaw and creating the rough shape with files or a flexible-shaft grinder. The carving is carefully finished with riffler files. Each sculpture is hand-polished by Ronald and his wife, using wet-dry sandpaper and finished with beeswax.
Self-taught in the art of carving, Ronald he has been carving stone for almost 40 years. He began as a woodcarver, but was quickly drawn to soapstone because it offered greater strength and a certain permanence in our fast changing world. Always striving for excellence in craftsmanship, Ronald enjoys the challenge of producing a carving that will show off the grain and unique qualities of each individual stone .
Over the years, Ronald has experimented with a variety of methods of combining soapstone with other materials, adding new dimensions to his carvings. He has been involved in many art and craft shows, from North Bay to Windsor, and his sculptures now reside in over two dozen countries around the world.
In addition to creating his art work, Ronald also thoroughly enjoys sharing his experience and expertise with others, having taught carving to children and adults over the years. His studio is next to his cottage on the Kahshe River, near Gravenhurst, and is accessible only by water. There he works from spring until the winter snow falls.
Ronald takes great pride in his work, and even though he does not carve profusely, he endeavours to keep his creations reasonably priced so that more people can enjoy them.