Vernon Artist Deborah Wilson Takes on Jade Carving Masters

Vernon artist takes on jade carving masters


By Staff Writer – Vernon Morning Star

A Vernon artist is taking on the male dominated world of Chinese jade carving.

Sculptor Deborah Wilson has just registered to take part in an inaugural worldwide jade carving competition that will pit her skills against the master carvers from the home of jade, China.

Last year, the World Jade Symposium attracted participants from Europe, Thailand, New Zealand, the U.S., and Canada. This year the organizers have invited master carvers from the male-dominated world of Chinese jade carving to take part.

“I know they have regional and national jade carving competitions in China, but they are not open to western carvers,” said Wilson, whom National Geographic once described as “among the best of the world’s contemporary jade sculptors.”

“This is a great opportunity for carvers in the west to match our skills against the master carvers from China. It will also be a fantastic opportunity for cultural exchange and to learn each other’s techniques.”

Each participant in the symposium will be sent an identical block of jade and be given three months to carve whatever they want. There will then be an online vote to decide which is the best work of art.  (More information is at

“The identity of the carvers will be kept secret until after the votes are counted, so people won’t know whether they are voting for a man or a woman, or someone from China or the west,” said Andrew Shaw, press spokesman for the competition.

Born in 1951, Wilson took up jade carving as a student soon after graduating from the Vancouver School of Art. She has since exhibited all over North America and many of her pieces are now collectors’ items.

Locally, her work has been featured at the Ashpa Naira Gallery Sculpture & ARTE Funktional exhibition at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre as well as at Odin Gallery on Silver Star Mountain.

Her jade sculpture, Kalamalka Reflection, which sits in front of the  Vernon library, was created during the 2002 Okanagan-Thompson International Sculpture Symposium.

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