Sculpting Workshop Aboard the Queen Mary 2, 2004

Michael Binkley presented the world’s first stone carving classes aboard a cruise ship on the Queen Mary 2 in 2004 during the ship’s maiden eastbound voyage from New York, NY, USA to Southampton, Hampshire, England.

michael binkley sculptor sculpture vancouver canada cunard queen mary 2 art class

Michael Binkley worked with Cunard Line Ltd. to present the first stone carving workshop aboard the most famous ocean liner of our time, the Queen Mary 2. The workshop was presented to interested passengers who were looking for a creative activity during the 7 day crossing from New York City to Southampton,  April 25 to May 1, 2004. The workshop was presented during the historic tandem crossing of the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth 2. As part of its at-sea enrichment programs, Cunard Line Ltd. invites artists who have a piece in the Queen Mary 2’s permanent on-board art collection to come aboard the ship to give lectures and workshops in their given field to passengers. Since Binkley carved the three large seashell sculptures which grace the therapy pool of the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, he was invited to give classes with Cunard.

michael binkley sculptor sculpture vancouver canada cunard queen mary 2 art class
michael binkley sculptor sculpture vancouver canada cunard queen mary 2 art class

Binkley presented his workshops in one of the ship’s dedicated art rooms and lead participants through the basics of stone carving. The participants used soapstone as their creative medium, as it is a very soft material and can be worked quickly. Some of the guests were able to carve two sculptures during the voyage! Several enthusiasts participated during morning and afternoon instruction workshops. Using knives, files and rifflers, the participants were amazed that their creativity could coax images from stone.

Pictured above, l – r: Ben B., from England carved a pure abstract; Jackie S. from Scotland carved a kneeling female nude; Gary S. from England worked up an abstract form; while Katy W. and her mother Jane from Scotland carved a cottage and lighthouse. Lower is Tony B. from England’s progression of a portrait of his dog.

michael binkley sculptor sculpture vancouver canada cunard queen mary 2 art class

michael binkley sculptor sculpture vancouver canada cunard queen mary 2 art class

Juliet B. from USA carved a polar bear, while Loretta H. from USA created a lovely undulating abstract. Both ladies were not adverse to getting dusty. Robin H. from Canada carved his own left fist.

michael binkley sculptor sculpture vancouver canada cunard queen mary 2 art class

Binkley also gave a visual presentation of his body of sculpture work and demonstrated hand carving techniques on a block of marble. Participants were given the opportunity to use hammer and chisel on the marble, just as Michelangelo had done centuries ago. Everyone was thrilled for the chance to try it.

Binkley’s workshops were well attended, and the participants were very pleased that such an art class was available to them.

Michael Binkley