Artist Statement

I make my living carving stone, and am known as a stone sculptor, but I don’t call myself an artist. In the indigenous worldview to which I subscribe there is a mysterious creative force driving through everything, and sometimes individuals get caught up in that creative energy and inadvertently make stuff. As someone who inadvertently makes stuff, I would like to gently articulate this critical difference between what my Scots/Irish ancestors call ‘individual artistic talent’, and what my Cree/Anishnabe/Mohawk ancestors call ‘a spiritual gift”. Coming to consciousness within many indigenous cultures involves a journey out of the small me into the large we; creative individuals become conscious of the swirling pool of creative forces, and recognize their (our) place in it.

Nechwamps (my cousin) asked me to go to the mountains with him to fast (spiritual retreat involving social isolation and abstinence from food and too much else to enumerate here) and there we each "met” a bear. Not a wild life bear, though there were plenty of those around; we were each visited by an intelligent communicative spiritually-energized bear with a teaching to share.

The bear who approached me went through a series of transformations, from "the little bear” (a comically playful spirit bear) to "the four-legged spirit being” (a terrifyingly large and powerful spirit bear) to a yearling-sized stone bear who could move, with a sort of rippling action. Watching the stone bear moving about made a 3-D imprint of the form of the bear in my imagination. Now, when I carve a bear, I can "see” the bear in the stone as I drill/saw/grind/hammer down to it, no matter the shape of the raw stone block.

For me, the bear is a spiritual being with a powerful teaching to share. Likewise the raw material of my work: rock. I work for a spiritual being called the Rock Spirit.

For uncounted millennia before the beginning of the colonial period there was a Turtle Island; that is where my creative work springs up from. I work under the direction of the Rock Spirit. She/He sets the course, provides the raw materials, inspires through dreams and visions, energizes and enlightens through ceremony. Sitting in the darkness of a sweatlodge, face to face with the glowing red-warm rocks fresh from the that’s my idea of a good time.

Creating The Eaglechild Sculpture (PDF)

Eaglechild Cover

by Stewart Steinhauer 

PDF Download





CV information for Stewart Steinhauer

Steinhauer is self-taught as a stone sculptor/foolish person, beginning his adventures in stone sculpture the day after the birth of his first child, in July 1973. After seventeen years of using the stone sculpture process as unconscious art therapy (on his own foolish self, of course), he was tossed into the maelstrom of the professional gallery system. Over the decade 1991-2001 he produced 21 exhibitions worth of new works in shows from Victoria BC to Stratford, Ontario. His works are in private collections around the world, and in public collections in BC and Alberta. Since 2003 he has been the sole representative of his own works, and currently has several ongoing public exhibitions of major works. He maintains on-reserve studio locations in both BC and Alberta.