A couple of months ago I was looking over the stones I had left at my studio and it was obvious that I needed more material to get me through the winter, so a trip was made to the old quarry. Most of the stones that I picked up that day were quite large - this one included. But with this particular stone, I could see the walrus swimming right away, so I made sure this one made it onto the back of the truck.
Once on the bench in my studio, I already knew what this stone had to be… and I found myself more concerned about the detail. I wanted this little walrus to look alive. A big part in getting the ’ realistic ’ look was to get the right shape to it’s chubby body - to try and make the stone feel alive became the most important thing.
I went on the Internet to retrieve images of walruses, particularly their heads and their flippers. When it came to studying up on the flippers, I realized that over the years I had been making the flipper claws wrong. So, with this one, I wanted to correct the past mistakes!
When it came time for the detailing of the head, I realized that it was the whiskers that were going to make the walrus more life-like. It turned out that doing the whiskers was a bit more than I had bargained for… there were way more whiskers then I had expected… 165 to be exact! But if realism is your goal… then you can’t back down.
As it turned out, after the whiskers were added, the little walrus looked a little older, so this is why I titled it - “young walrus”.—Michael Massie
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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