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Fire Fox

Fire Fox, sculpture by Ellen Woodbury


The Red Panda, also known as the Fire Fox, is an endangered species living in the mountains of Myanmar, Nepal, and central China. If the Laws of Nature were survival of the cutest, the Red Panda would have no problems. Unfortunately . . . deforestation has destroyed much of its natural habitat and small populations are isolated in pockets of remaining high-altitude forest.


I first met the Red Panda in person at the National Zoo in Washington on my Platypus Delivery Trip. I was struck by the graphic beauty of its markings and very appealing face. You can’t help but smile when you see that face, and I knew I had to carve it. Red Pandas wrap their bushy tails around their bodies like fluffy comforters to keep warm—irresistible!


The stone is Turkish Red Marble, a very hard marble—in fact a real finger-buster. The block I carved was exceptionally pure and clear of the tiny white lines characteristic of this stone. Many thanks to my stone broker, Myles Schachter, who found a real plum for me!

I used a sintered blade (a ridged blade with diamonds in the ridges) to cut it as the stone is very hard and it would have stripped a braised diamond blade. My studio was filled with awesome black-raspberry-colored dust during the cutting phase—the color of my favorite ice cream.

The stone is pink when raw, and yields a deep maroon color when sanded. I took the finish to 2,000-grit, then used black rouge on the eyes, nose, and some facial markings to bring a high shine to parts of the face.

The touch of the finished stone is elegant. Turkish Red is a challenge to carve, but yields a great pay-off for the effort.

A Surprise Present

This stone sculpture was purchased as a Christmas present, so I delayed posting it until now in order to preserve the secret. (My clients were so surprised!) I hope you all had a great holiday. May we all meet and surpass our challenges in 2012!

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