For those that know my work, they already know that I like to add humor to my pieces. I could see the face in the stone right away just went from there and came up with this piece. Having thought about it, this is my third piece where I have a figure (me) with a teapot. In the first two I was holding the teapot, but with this one I am not. At first I was going to have me holding the teapot, but I found it too be too crowded when it all came together… and besides, this way it looks like I am presenting the teapot to you, the viewer.
As for the making of the figure, I wanted to have as much likeness of me as possible. I used the same wood for the handle and the legs as in making my eyes, and my eyes are brown. For the glasses, at first I was going to try and use a pair of my old glasses but they were the wrong shape, so I ended up making a pair. I also tried to get the same shape of my teeth, that is why they are a little crooked on the bottom… and I simply had to add the goatee, trying to make it look more like me!
For the finish of the stone I wanted there to be a definite contrast between the face and the parka. So I polished the face and textured the parka. For me this makes more sense because the parka has a rough texture (because of the fur) and the face is usually smooth. As I got to the point of how to treat the hands, I was thinking of the older pieces that I have made using caribou antler, and decided to use the shape of the antler as it was, changing very little except to clean it up.
At first, when I had planned to have me holding the teapot, I knew that it had to be light in over-all weight. So what I ended up using 0.6 mm copper, which is very thin to work with in this type of form. Because copper at this thickness is very delicate after it has been heated with the torches, I had to strengthen the copper somehow—and this is where the folding comes to play. By folding the copper as you can see here, it gives strength in the same way as corrugated metal does in siding. Once it was folded and hammered and repeated a number of times, I was able to mold the sides. After the copper teapot was put together and buffed, the copper colour was too over-bearing for the piece, so I added the patina to the copper by using liver of sulphur, and this gives it the charcoal black colour. The design for the teapot is the Ulu (flensing-knife), an image I have used many times in the past.
Massie’s work is a reflection of his mixed Inuit, Métis and Scottish heritage. In it, he investigates both traditional and contemporary themes. He has achieved renown for his innovative teapots that combine themes and symbols from his native Inuit culture with European traditions. Massie has been twice short-listed for the coveted Prix Saidye Bronfman and has an extensive international reputation. His work has been shown in North America and Europe, including the National Gallery of Canada. He was elected a member of Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2011.
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