Canadian born sculptor Thomas Richard McPhee studied graphic arts at the Kootney School of Art in 1974-75. In 1976 he went to England to study art in the great museums of London and sold his first collection of gemstone carvings there.
Moving back to Canada in 1977, McPhee settled in Vancouver and opened a small studio and attended the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art And Design) studying bronze casting, welding, clay, and painting. In 1979 he began carving mastodon and mammoth ivory. In 1982 he returned to carving precious and semi precious gemstones.
In the early 1980’s he developed his own technique for gem carving and since then has become one of the world’s foremost artists in this demanding medium. The gems carved by McPhee range from the relatively common like quartz and agate to the rare and unique, such as emerald and sapphire. As a master of classical realism, McPhee combines both figurative and stylized elements in his work that often involves mythological themes and archetypes. The carvings range from small jewellery sized pieces to larger sculptures.
In 1998, McPhee turned his talent to the exploration of casting glass into finely detailed miniature sculptures. This medium lends itself naturally to McPhee’s style.
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