From his home in British Columbia, Canada, Thomas McPhee transforms
gem material into jewelry-sized intaglio and small sculptures renowned
for their detail and proportion. McPhee discovered ancient gem engraving
at the Victoria and Albert Museum and carved his first gemstone in 1976.
In 1992, he carved a fist-sized emerald weighing 1,550 carats, probably
the largest fine emerald ever sculpted. Though he works in several media,
including paint, wood, acrylic resin, and bronze, his first love is
gem carving, a love evident in the care and attention he gives his pieces.
McPhee's formal art training spanned eight years and included several
years at the Kootenay School of Arts in Nelson, B. C. and the Vancouver
College of Art in Vancouver, B.C. Thomas McPhee also received classical
art training in Toronto and London.
As a master of classical realism, McPhee brings a richly tactile quality
and graceful and fluid style to his work. He combines both figurative
and abstract forms in his art and often involves mythological themes
and archetypes. He creates remarkable, museum-quality pieces
by pairing archaic engraving methods with modern technology. Working
from live models and using a dentist drill and hand tools, he achieves
breathtaking detail in a variety of quartz and beryl.
McPhee's art has been exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History
in Pittsburgh and the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Chicago, as
well as displayed in galleries worldwide. In the American Gem Trade
Association's prestigious Cutting Edge Competition, he was awarded first
place in 1994. McPhee's work has been praised in magazines from the
Robb Report to the Concorde's Cafe Paradise and featured in journals
worldwide such as Canadian Jeweller Magazine, National Jeweler, and
a 12-part series in Lapidary Journal. In addition, works of art by Thomas
McPhee grace private and corporate collections throughout the world,
from Japanese industrialists to royal families in Europe and the Mideast.