Keven Peters smiles as he carves the wax model for the golden eagle. (Photo submitted)

World-class carver prefers the simple life

His work can be found in galleries around the world, but Kevin Peters prefers the quiet life.

His work can be found in galleries around the world, but stone carver Kevin Peters prefers the quiet life in Loon Lake.

The renowned artist said he enjoys the solitude of the lakeside community, where he can walk into the wilderness of Wild Horse Mountain or have hours to create his carvings, including four 3,000-pound statues he was recently commissioned to do.

“It’s a little bit of privacy, a little bit of lifestyle and a little bit the people, (because) when they do find out who I am and what I do, they don’t treat me different than anyone else and that’s what I like,” Peters, 52, said.

Born in Yarrow B.C. to a Mennonite family, Peters began carving stone at 16 on the family farm. The hobby quickly grew into a passion and within two years, Peters was showing his work at major art galleries in Vancouver, including Gastown’s Images for Canadian Heritage. By 22, he was selling his work, with a growing clientele that included actors and directors in Hollywood.

Peters credited Arnold Barkoff, the Gastown gallery owner, for being good to him, noting he had a talent for connecting him with clients.

READ MORE: Carving stories in stone

“It basically started snowballing when I was 24, I guess, and now thousands and thousands of pieces later I’m represented in Whistler, Banff, Europe, you name it,” Peters said.

As his career started to take off, Peters realized he needed to distance himself from clients and gallery owners so “I’m harder to find.” He bought land in Loon lake in 1998 and moved to the home he built there in 2000. In 2008, Leanne Friesen Peters joined him and today they and their two young daughters run Wild Horse Mountain Farms. During the first decade, most people didn’t even know what he did, although they eventually found out when a helicopter landed in his field one time.

In 2016, his identity was further revealed following the theft of his solid gold eaglet, the largest casting of gold in the last 400 years. This golden bird was encrusted with diamonds and, Peters said, had an Atocha Star emerald from the shipwreck of Nuestra Señora de Atocha set in its base.

The man who commissioned it, Ron Shore, had intended to sell it and use the proceeds to fund breast cancer research but was hit over the head and robbed in Vancouver. The statue hasn’t been seen since. Peters said that they know it hasn’t been melted down and it’s not believed to be in North America anymore. Its exact whereabouts remain unknown.

The robbery led many galleries to put Peters’ work in the back to protect them and resulted in a brief slowdown in interest from clients. However, he was soon busy again, and Peter maintains he’s blessed to have a very patient wife, who does all the farming. When he’s working on a project, he rarely takes days off, noting that even after close to five decades, he’s still “addicted” to what he does – although he has made some changes.

For most of his career, for instance, Peters relied on his own chisel and other supplies, forged when he was a “poor decrepit artist” back in Vancouver. However, the years have taken a toll on his body and Peters now also uses a pneumatic air chisel for larger pieces, though the detailing with grinders is still done by hand.

He works primarily on large stone carvings that take months to complete. Stone is an “unrelenting medium” Peters said, but his clients are willing to spend that time and will commission his work, even in the midst of COVID-19.

One of his most recent works, posted to his Facebook page, is a six-foot-tall bear carved from solid rock. It took Peters years to carve it by hand. He’s also been involved in multi-million dollar projects such as the large bronze monuments in Osoyoos that are so big he had to employ all three foundries in B.C. at the same time to provide the required metal. The most famous of these statues, he said, is a nine-foot-tall Sasquatch that has its own internet following.

Peters prefers carving with soapstone, and is known for his detailed work, grinding and chipping away half the stone before he’s done and only using one slab of stone for his work. He also likes using rainforest marble, jet black chlorite, antlers and whatever other stones his clients’ request, preferring South American stone due to the fact they are not impacted by the effects of glaciation like deposits found in Canada.

Although Peters said he will take on bulk projects, such as carving 20 bears for a single gallery, he grows bored doing the same thing over and over.

“You got to keep challenging yourself,” Peters said, adding even the rare projects he abandons teach him something new.

Despite his success, Peters remains humble, saying he owes his livelihood to his passion.

“I’m just a farm kid who carved stone and got good at it.”


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

100 Mile House

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A smaller soapstone carving by Kevin Peters. (Photo submitted)

Kevin Peters poses with a completed carving of a bear. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Kevin Peters poses with a completed carving of a bear. (Submitted photo)

A carving of Orca whales by Kevin Peters. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Keven Peters has carved bone and antler before but said he’s stopped due to the smell it makes in his workshop. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Just Posted

North District RCMP are urging the public’s assistance in locating Prince George resident Amber Weutz, 25, last seen Oct. 18 in the Canim Mahood Lake area east of 100 Mile House. (Photo submitted)
RCMP release more information on missing Prince George woman

Amber Weutz, 25, was last seen in the Canim and Mahood Lake area on Oct. 18

Courtney Driver is the new president of the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society. (Photo submitted)
100 Mile Performing Arts Society elects new president

Courtney Driver wants to provide more diverse events

Erica Henderson the supervisor of early year services and programs at South Cariboo Early Years Centre and others were giving out Halloween Family Activity Kits the week leading up to Halloween. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Halloween activity kits offered to kids at home

South Cariboo Early Years Centre is finding ways to bring activities into children’s homes.

Juliette Leclair enjoys a day of skiing with the 100 Mile Nordics.
Nordic skiers practice skills in early snowfall

Thirteen young skiers got out on their skis at 100 Mile Junior.

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Most Read