Thursday, 21 July 2016

Talc ...



Talcum powder … mostly known as ‘talc’ or baby powder … but this is a clay mineral of the softest kind, listed as such on the Mohs hardness scale.


Block of talc - greeny, grey, cream colouration

'Monti' Montague Sykes, artist, sculptor, writer and blogger, wrote a piece on her Montana talc sculpture … I was fascinated – she’s a great blogger/writer-artist combining the creative art forms … but I’d never thought of the possibility of sculpting from baby-soft talc …


Bozeman - capital of Gallatin County,
Montana - on the eastern side of the
Rockies, USA




I then went searching just to gain a little more understanding … first things – Montana Talc … now that mine is owned by Imerys … a global organisation.






Where had I come across Imerys before – well: at the approaches to The Eden Project in Cornwall – a favourite of my mother’s, which therefore holds many memories. 


Eden Project with meadow plantings ...
c/o Visit Cornwall


The dramatic global garden housed in tropical biomes that nestle in a china-clay pit crater the size of 30 football pitches … is a gateway to a better understanding of relationships between plants and people … a unique resource for many …






Imerys own the China Clay lands of south-mid Cornwall … and announce the fact as one drives through their landscapes … I’d been used to English China Clay … now Imerys.


Waddesdon Manor - bequeathed by the
Rothschild family to the National Trust 


Imetal founded in 1880 by the Rothschild family had combined a few of their many subsidiaries in metals and mining industries, which then became known as Imerys.






I have to say I’d never really associated the Rothschilds with mining – but of course having amassed the world’s largest private fortune in the 19th C – it’s not surprising to find that their business enterprises cover many areas, over and above banking.


This wonderful coloured depiction - shows the
structure of  talc (see Wiki for detail)
So back to Montana and baby bottom talc … Monti’s piece is titled “Emerging” sculpted from talc … the form is definitely transpiring and becomes revealed … the mineral looks so soft …



You may have experienced soapstone – which is a metamorphic rock composed predominantly of talc … it can feel ‘greasy’ to the touch.



The word talc derives from Medieval Latin talcus, which came from Arabic, derived from the Persian … and covers various related minerals, including talc, mica and Selenite.


Monti's sculpture: EMERGING ... you can definitely
see the form ... 

Who would have thought talcum powder would take us on a world tour – China Clay … started in China – that’s another story … but knowing how soft and easily damaged soapstone can be …


… talc’s story unfolds so appropriately using Monti’s wonderful sculpture “EMERGING” … a human form sculpted from this softest – as a baby’s bottom – stone …

National League of American Pen Women ... art and poetry on view

Mary Montague Sikes blog and her post:
     Seed Work for Authors and Artists - Visiting the Trees



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

67 comments:

Pearson Report said...

Hi Hilary - that was indeed fascinating. Thank you for taking me on a Talc Tour.

As a person in the beauty business I have come away pleased with a little insight into the world of talc: types, location and history.

I appreciate the effort you go to putting together such amazing posts.

Sending smiles and happy thoughts your way, Jenny xxoo

Elephant's Child said...

How intriguing. I knew a little about talc and about soapstone (my father was an amateur gemnologisit) but have never thought of talc sculptures. The world is full of wonders.
Thank you.

A Heron's View said...

Thank you for jogging my memory Hilary, in regards to the soft stone China Clay, Talc and Soapstone and then I think we can add Meerschaum to the list which was brought to fame by the imaginary character Sherlock Holmes, no less!

Rhodesia said...

Wow so much here that I did not know. Sorry I have not been visiting, but after being away for a month, and we are now redecorating our house after 10 years - time is at a minimum. I hope to be back to normal soon but with over 2000 holiday photos to go through..... Take care Diane

Mona lisa said...

Howdy Hilary - that was in reality intriguing. I welcome the exertion you go to assembling such astonishing posts.Wow such a great amount here that I didn't have the foggiest idea. Sorry I have not been going by..
http://www.ranthamborejeepsafari.com/

Mason Canyon said...

A fascinating post, Hilary. I would have never thought of talcum powder as a source for sculpturing. I always learn from your posts. Thanks and have a wonderful week.

Jo said...

Who knew. Thanks for an informative post Hilary. I have a piece of soapstone, the Indians in Ontario use it for carvings. Pretty expensive stuff though. I had no idea talc was a "stone" nor that it could be carved. I am sure the Rothschilds had their fingers in many pies to make the fortune they did.

Annalisa Crawford said...

It never occurred to me that talc 'came' from somewhere. It's always just 'there'. I think I might take way too much for granted - I'm glad I've got you to help me along :-)

Joanne said...

very interesting - Montana to Cornwall and throw in the Rothchilds. Who knew? You research unique things we take for granted. Talc....wow

Nicola said...

An interesting post, Hilary. We visited the Eden Project a couple of years ago when travelling back to the UK. A super place. I even went zip-lining :) I didn't have a clue about talc - until now. Thank you for sharing. Such a joy to visit your blog :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jenny – so glad you enjoyed the Talc Tour! It’s so ‘funny’ to think of baby talc as a rock or mineral … but thanks – I enjoyed writing this up …

@ EC – me too I was intrigued by all the links. Oh how wonderful to have a gemologist as a father … he must have had some wonderful thoughts re his ‘gems’. I’ve seen lots of soapstone sculptures in Africa ... but the connections here just fascinated me – as you say the world is full of wonders.

@ Mel – thank you for letting me know about Meerschaum … another post coming I feel! I certainly didn’t know about that mineral – but its connection with Sherlock is worth knowing about …

@ Diane – hope you had a lovely holiday and break seeing old friends – it’s good to see you back.

Oh oh – good luck with the redecorations … fun?! Lovely once it’s done …

@ Mona Lisa – thanks for coming by – nice to meet you …

@ Mason – nor had I thought of talc as sculpting material – til I saw Monti’s sculpture … then of course the rest follows on via the links …

@ Jo – who knew?! So right … many native peoples use soapstone to carve small items for the tourist trade … but I see “The Statue of Iddi-lium” was sculpted over 4,000 years ago – see it in Wiki … it is now in the Louvre – safer than Syria where it originally came from.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Iddi-Ilum

The Rothschilds and those names … they had mines out in Southern Africa too … - just had to write about them …

@ Annalisa – nor me … when I find links that are interesting – as you know … off I go looking – this was just fun to write about … glad you enjoyed it …

@ Joanne – thanks … my links stretched – but were fun to ‘chase’ around for this post …

@ Nicola - So glad you visited the Eden Project and enjoyed it so much ... when I've been the zip-lining wasn't in situ - so that's an escapade I've avoided! Thanks so much for the compliment ...

Cheers to you all – thanks so much for visiting … Hilary

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

The idea of sculpting in talc is mind-blowing, but the result was beautiful. I didn't know talc has such a diverse history. :)

Out on the prairie said...

I had a small piece in my collection as a child.I never heard about carving it, I had seen some soapstone carvings.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

So talc has Persian roots? Your posts are always fascinating. Thanks for your visits and your comments. :-)

Paula Kaye said...

How interesting! I have never given much thought to how talc came to be! Thank you for educating me today!

A Heron's View said...

Hilary forgive me please. I ought to have said that his famous pipe was fashioned from Meerschaum.

Janie Junebug said...

I saw soapstone in Schuyler, Virginia, where there was once a soapstone mine. I love the photo of the Eden Project. It's a beautiful concept. As always, I learn from you.

Love,
Janie

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you so much, Hilary, for this enlightening story about Montana talc. I loved working with it and still have a box with 10 or more large chunks in it. I was deterred from working with it (after creating four sculptures from it) because it's hard not to breathe in the powder which has been found to be carcinogenic. Maybe I'll be inspired to do another story about the art. Right now, I am working on a story you might like about angel paintings that I plan to post tomorrow.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Wow, I can't believe that beautiful sculpture is made from something so soft we make baby powder out of it!

Cozy in Texas said...

I hopped on over to your blog from Wordsplash. The next time I make it to Cornwall the Eden Project is on my list of places to visit (I lived there for 10 years) but ended up in Texas.
there's a lot of controversy about talc these days and possible links to cancer, but then isn't everything!
Ann

Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! said...

Hi human, Hilary,

Humble apawlogies for my notable absence from your notable blog. With my human dad, Gary, still so lethargic, it takes my doggy paws to type away on the peeboard, um, keyboard.

As paw usual, your carefully crafted writing is worthy of many a superlative. I love your writing style, my kind human friend. To pick up on a couple of points, I know Gary sometimes likes a bit of talcum powder after having a shower to help him dry off.

I wish Gary would take me to the Eden Project in the wonderful county of Cornwall. I could become Penny the Pawrate. Oooh arrrfff!!!

Pawsitive wishes,

Penny

Denise Covey said...

Talc sculptures, Hilary. How amazing. This was a fascinating post. Talcum powder is one of those things in common usage but who thinks about the history? I hope you're settled into your new home and enjoying those water views!

Denise :-)

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Fascinating, Hilary. Who'd have thought..! If you knew all that, I'm impressed; if you researched it, I'm just as impressed!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Holly – I’m glad the ‘talc’ story fascinated you … history and all …

@ Steve – I have some soapstone here ... and it is ‘greasy’ to the touch and very soft … and does damage easily … as I can’t draw or sculpt – the thought never occurred to me … though I too collected ‘stones’ for a while …

@ Roland – well that stretched me a bit … it seems that talc is found in the folds of the earth’s crust where mountains are raised from … so I suspect the word originated from Persian – but the actual substance was found in the Himalayas … and other folded areas (Orogenic Belts). Thanks for the visit …

@ Paula – nor had I – but I appreciated the look around for the information here …

@ Mel –no worries … I realised once I looked up Meerschaum – but it was interesting to find out more …

@ Janie – I think the locals will exploit soapstone for carving – if it is found there ... as your Schuyler experience tells us. Thanks the Eden Project is an extraordinary creation …

@ Monti – thanks for coming by and commenting … I hadn’t included the other properties … but now you mention the carcinogenic aspects I can see the dangers – and why you didn’t want to work it any more.

I hope that I’ve triggered the idea of a story around the art you created … that’s great I’ll see your post tomorrow or today – looking forward to it.

@ Dianne – it is extraordinary isn’t it …

@ Ann – how lovely to meet you … I hope you can make it down to Cornwall to see the Eden Project and many other fascinating places down in the West Country …

I’d seen the notes in Wiki about talc – but decided they weren’t needed in this post – but am glad the carcinogenic aspect has been noted … I guess that happens today with many products that we use …

@ Penny aka Gary – lovely to see you ... it is certainly lethargic weather, so can understand Gary’s predisposition to remain relaxed. Thanks so much – re my writing style … it surprises me that it’s noted and appreciated.

I hope you can get down to the Eden Project someday … I’m not sure Penny if you’re allowed in … you might need to rest up somewhere?! If you went to Penzance – you could become Penny the Pawrate!

@ Denise – thanks re the flat and those water views …

It does seem odd that we can carve from talc doesn’t it … and its history …

@ Mike – exactly – that’s why I had to write it up … I didn’t know it all – but once Imerys had come into ‘view’ in my brain … the rest was relatively easy via Wiki and organisational sites. Cornwall, Southern Africa, the Waddesdon collection (Rothschilds) at the British Museum … then add some pretty pictures … and I was ‘A for away’ for a posting!

Thanks everyone – lovely to see you all ... cheers Hilary

mail4rosey said...

It seems it would be so soft to carve. That makes it even more special when it's finished I do suppose! :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It does look soft. It took a gentle touch to carve.

bazza said...

I'm a Johnson's Baby! I'm addicted to it and Mrs Bazza complains about the clouds that hang in the bathroom air whenever I have used it (twice daily). It's one of life's pleasures that I won't be giving up anytime soon. On a similar note my two daughters always laugh at my lifelong dedication to Savlon! You always manage to find the most interesting things to say about any topic and, although I don't comment if I don't have anything useful to add, I always read it. Thank you.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Patsy said...

It's odd, growing up we always used talc after a bath or shower - now I never use it. I have no idea when I stopped.

Jeffrey Scott said...

Interesting article. I had never really thought of talc in a stone form before. Why? I don't know. Made for some fascinating reading.
The Eden project kind of reminded me of the Mitchell Park Domes here in Milwaukee.

If interested, you can read what I write about it and see some amazing pictures here: http://jeffreyascott.blogspot.com/search/label/Mitchell%20Park

PS - So sorry if you disapprove of me posting a link. I hope it's okay.

Lynn said...

Love the poppies in that one photo. The Eden Project sounds wonderful. And so interesting about talc and where it comes from.

Mark Noce said...

Wow, stuff like this always makes me wonder how hum ans figured this out int he first place. Small miracles:)

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Hi Hilary,

I just realized that the link you copied from my site no longer works for the Chesapeake Bay Pen Women. They might have taken it down because the show is over. Sorry Here is a link to the National League of American Pen Women that you might want to visit. http://www.nlapw.org

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Talc is so soft, I never imagined it could be successfully sculpted. Interesting! But for indoor sculptures only, right? I don't think it would stand up very well to the elements.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rosey – I guess you’re right if someone’s spent a time carving an object which is so soft and produced a wonderful sculpture – it must be special …

@ Diane – as you say … it has a very gentle feel …

@ Bazza – good to see you … how funny – Mrs Bazza complaining of the wafts of talc clouds … I’m glad you’ll still be using it! We all have our lifelong addictions … inherited from our childhood and parents …

Thanks re the topic … I’m glad you enjoy enjoy the topics ... and will read – appreciate that …

@ Patsy – I guess we did too … and I used to have a small ‘bottle’ of it around for about 25 years – then it faded … not sure why – actually I still have some here ‘for emergencies’ …

@ Jeffrey – exactly my thoughts … I hadn’t thought about talc being sculpted – so I admired Monti’s work …

The Mitchell Park Domes certainly seem to be similar … I had a quick look … no worries re the link – as it is relevant …

@ Lynn – thanks – the Eden Project’s grounds are always amazing. Talc was extraordinary to find out that it could be sculpted …

@ Mark – yes – we humans – do, over time, find out the most extraordinary things … I’m sure the sculpting came first – before smashing it down for talc!

@ Monti – thanks for alerting me to the link – I’ll change it when I’ve posted these comments …

@ Susan – talc is so soft isn’t it. Yes indoor sculptures only – I’d think too … but they survive long periods of time …

Thanks everyone – so good to see you … we might need some talc today – it is already promising to be very hot and muggy! Cheers Hilary

Marja said...

Wow I didn't realise you could use talc for sculptures. Here limestone is very popular It is also soft but harder than talc You even gave the chemical parts of it I remember from school that sand is SiO2 Thanks for the fascinating post. I always learn something when I come here

Brian Miller said...

i dont know if i knew that it was the metamorphic version of talc, though it makes sense. its pretty cool, both talc and soapstone. i remember finding some natural as a kid. Ah marja reminded me too of its chemistry link...my that has been a while...lol

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know Mary! Her sculpture is beautiful.

Suzanne Furness said...

How interesting this post is. I know about soapstone and sculpture but hadn't thought about talc. Lots of China Clay around Eden Project.
All the best.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I wish my sons would have had you as their teacher. There would have been no end to what they would have learned. This was so fascinating. And in sync with a discussion I had yesterday. Walking on snow sounds the same as walking on talc because our snow is dry.

Happy Summer, Hilary.

TexWisGirl said...

hadn't realized soapstone was part of the talc family. neat!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marja - I know nor did I realise talc could be sculpted. I certainly can't remember my chemistry from school - that's impressive!

@ Brian - I'd known about soapstone from my time in Zimbabwe and SA ... but just hadn't realised about talc. Marja's mention of her school chemistry - takes us back ... and yes - my that was a long time ago ...

@ Alex - how wonderful you've met Mary -and yes we know her art works ..

@ Suzanne - you have to pass the China Clay lands ... as I've done all my life - so finding out about talc was fun ... and seeing her sculpture ..

@ Joylene - thanks so much ... yes I'm teaching myself so much - that's the attraction for me. I can quite see what you're saying about 'walking on snow' - it does 'scrunch' ... I've never walked on talc ... but interesting you had that conversation ...

@ Theresa - me too - I felt the same way ... fascinating connections ..

Cheers and thanks for visiting and the connections you have - Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

Fascinating. I love the sculpture. Kids today won't appreciate how significant talc was to our childhood. The bathroom was always covered in a fine layer as everyone talced themselves liberally after washing and babies bottoms used to disappear in a cloud of the stuff. It's all moisturising creams and lotions these days. How things change.

Kathleen Valentine said...

Oh, my, that sculpture is lovely. I took a few geology courses in college but, of course, there is always so much to learn. Thanks for condensing this.

cleemckenzie said...

Isn't it interesting how one new thing we want to know about leads us into so many things we never knew. What a great discovery process you went through. Thanks for taking us on the tour with you.

Debs said...

A very informative and fascinating post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ros - isn't it fun ... and Monti's sculpture is just lovely to see - talented artist. You're right about an almost forgotten habit if ours - talc to dry us off ... then those babies bottoms with clouds of talc around them ... as they giggle around. How things change - they do ... sometimes imperceptibly ... but change they do ...

@ Kathleen - I thought the sculpture was so good - then all the links made it fun for me to write up ... I too enjoy geology ...

@ Lee - I know ... sometimes I have to stop looking - but these links brought memories to mind ... Cornwall and Southern Africa and the Rothschilds ... I'm happy you enjoyed yourself.

@ Debs - well you'd appreciate the sculpture - after your Michelangelo 'David' sculpture you show in your latest post ...

Thanks for your visits .. cheers Hilary

Vallypee said...

This is what I love about your blog! You find such fascinating topics to write about. I have never given any thought to talc at all, but here you have given it an almost noble history! Thanks, Hilary!

Gattina said...

Interesting ! I only know talk from body care. These bubbles in Cornwall I have seen in an "Escape to the country". They showed it. I also only know Rothschild = Money !

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I mentioned talc when I talked about the Moh's scale during the A to Z. It's a very interesting mineral and like you, I never thought about it being used for art.

Ann Best said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Val - well it makes my life interesting too - and then I find the various links - that lead me on ... thanks re the noble history - the powder will be grateful to know it can be crowned as such!

@ Gattina - the 'bubbles' are an idyllic place to visit ... and now I shall always think of talc when I go and visit them. Money and the Rothschilds - but actually they were and are very philanthropic ...

@ Susan - I actually commented on your M post in April ... considering I should have been packing! The Mohs hardness scale for minerals .. is fascinating to see how they align themselves.

@ Ann - I just, like you, found the whole concept fascinating ... America is so huge - I can quite believe Montana wasn't visited. We don't think of talc as a mineral do we? I hope your Blogger Feedly link still works for me - as this link took me back to G+ and I can't stand that thing ...

Cheers to you - we'll all think differently now about talc ... Hilary

Chrys Fey said...

I've never seen a block of talc before or thought that talc could be so interesting to learn about.

Bish Denham said...

I wonder if talc and chalk are similar. We have chalk deposits here and in places can pick up chunks of it. I wonder if it could be carved?

Interesting about the connection of Montana talc to England and the Rothschilds.

Ann Best said...

Hi, Hilary. As I said in the comment I posted I think two days ago, I learned something new about Talc. I deleted my comment because you said, and I saw, that clicking my icon takes one to G+. I don't like that place either!!...can't understand it...so thanks to you I deleted my account there. (I'm sending you an email...hope all is well with you across the pond.)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Chrys - I too hadn't seen a block of talc - or taken cognisance of the fact that it was originally 'a block' ... but I just found it enticed me to write about it ..

@ Bish - we live on chalk here - which was an old sea ... similar to your chalk - an old sea ... full of marine creatures (remains of) ... talc is a clay mineral ...

Chalk is more difficult to carve than talc ... because of its complicated structre - some small carvings are still made ... but much less durable than other minerals ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalk_carving

The connections I always love finding out about ..

@ Ann - thanks for letting me know ... re deleting your comment and your agreement with me re G+ ... now at least I can find you ...

Good to see you all ... cheers Hilary

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I always learn so many fascinating things when visiting your blog :) always an education!

Marian Green said...











Such an informative blogpost Hilary... well done...

gramswisewords.blogspot.com

Karen Lange said...

And it was a delightful world tour, that's for sure! Loved the photos too. Thanks for educating us and enriching our lives, Hilary. It's always a wonderful experience. Have a great weekend!

Ana coelho said...

Hi Hilary I found it fascinating your description about talc. Thank you...Take care Ana..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith - good to see you and thank you ...

@ Marian - pleasure ...

@ Karen - yes almost the world tour ... but a fun trip with some talc around!

@ Ana - it was an interesting find and Monti's sculpture is just lovely ...

Cheers to you all ... Hilary

DMS said...

What an interesting post about talc. I had no idea about just about everything in the post! Always fun to learn new things. :)

I am so curious about the dramatic global garden. Fascinating!

Thanks for sharing! :)
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jess - thanks so much ... I was fascinated about Monti's talc sculpture - so I'm so glad you enjoyed the post.

Eden Project - if you put that into my search bar ... you get taken to various posts from me - right from my early days of blogging ... and then there's their own link ... but my posts will give you snippets - along with numerous other bits and bobs ...

It's a fantastic space and place ... really interesting, educational and informative about all aspects of outdoor life ...

I hope you can get over to glance at a few of the posts ... and links I put in at times ...

Cheers - enjoy seeing a bit more about The Eden Project ... Hilary

Natalie Roesch said...

Happy August 1st, Hilary! I can at least read your blog. Cannot access my blog and no one to help and I do not want to start all over. After my computer was 'fixed' everything went to . . . . Still want to stay in touch.
Natasha

Robyn Campbell said...

Talc sculptures sound absolutely wondrous. Still learning from you. Saving these posts for homeschool as always, my friend. There are so many things that I don't know. Thanks for being there to teach me. You always improve my life. I have missed you.

I feel so sad for the commenter above me. I know what she's going through. UGH.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Natasha - so good to see you - oh what a pain about your blog - it had some wonderful articles in it ... perhaps sometime you can rescue it ... but I'm here and I'll email and keep the contact going ...

@ Robyn - isn't it extraordinary that sculptures can be made from talc - so glad you use the posts in a constructive way. Me - I just keep learning (too) ...

Yes sadly Natasha has some challenges apart from her computer problems ... the bane of our lives at times, but wondrous when we do connect and keep those connections going ...

Thanks so much to you both - keep well and as cheerful as possible - with thoughts and cheers Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

More fascinating stuff! I admit I really don't know enough about rocks and soils. Clay, limestone, sandstone... I need to go on a walking tour of the UK, hee hee!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz - I was as you say fascinated by this idea of sculpting talc ... yes - you'd walk miles?! But there's so much to learn about our earth's make up ... and they did it all those years ago - 200 or so ...

The book you might like to read is "The Map That Changed the World: A Tale of Rocks, Ruin and Redemption" ... by Simon Winchester ... check out Amazon ...

Cheers Hilary