Expedito and the Soap Stone

June 22, 2018

How can one not be enchanted by the smile and spontaneity of the master craftsman sculptor Expedito Jonas de Jesus? Expedito makes it seem easy to create beautiful sculptures in soapstone without even making a drawing before. For him it is as simple as that: he spends some time staring at the stone until he sees within it what it wants to be, then he uses only his chisel to remove the fragments that don't belong to it and brings out of the stone voluptuous women, cherubs, flowers, lions, elephants and whatever else his sensibility may suggest.


He talks about his gift with an immense naturalness and humility. He tells us that the beauty of his work led him to live a year in Portugal when he was young, invited by a Portuguese couple who visited Tiradentes (MG) to teach how to carve the wood to the artisans there. Incredible as it may seem, this technique that came here from Portugal during Brazil's colonization was being lost, and it was necessary that the Brazilian artisans helped to rescue it.


Expedito couldn't stand to stay there for a long time, the family longing and his passion for soapstone spoke louder. Back in Tiradentes he restarted to sculpt the stone and never stopped again, creating sculptures that are so delicate that they don't seem to have been born from hard stone.


Whoever looks at his work couldn't guess how difficult it is. He chooses the stone in the quarry and with some help he manages to get it down to a place where cars could go, so he can bring it to his workshop. a place almost in the open sky where he set up his own saw to slice the stones when necessary.


He once told me, "I do the sculpture first for me, only if what I'm doing pleases me, it could please others." For me Expedito has the soul of an artist, and he allows his soul to guide him through life because he is proud to be who he is. He is very right. From our meeting, the table Artist's Soul is born, which is part of the Artisans Collection, presented in June at MADE 2018.

About the author

Yankatu - Design + Art with Brazilian soul

Maria Fernanda Paes de Barros Penteado

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