This piece started out to be something completely different - but while I was grinding a piece of the stone chipped off in a place that was needed for that design. In looking at it againI saw this design… well, part of it anyway!!
When I was rethinking where I could go with the form, I could see an owl that looked somewhat like a stealth bomber. Now to help explain how I thought of an aircraft and an owl at the same time, all stems from my little knowledge of airplanes.
Growing up, it was a well know fact that I had three uncles who were pilots, all three are dad’s brothers. (Dad’s oldest brother, Uncle Ian, was the first pilot to come out of Labrador (something that was pretty cool). Dad, before he retired, worked for the airport fire-station - and with that job came the responsibility to know the aircraft that landed on the airstrip.
When I as much younger, my brother and a few of the neighbours used to make lunches and peddle our bikes to the Canadian Side (a section out of town that held the old airport back then), and we would have lunch at the fire-station before continuing on our journey. And from those early years of our visits, I became used to dropping by to see dad at work. This continued till just before I left home in 1986. And from those visits in the later years, I would get a chance to see some of these planes up close. Dad would tell me about each plane, where it came from, what wars, if any, it was in, etc. From all of that, I still have an interest in aviation.
I can remember after a long day in the studio and going in for the night and coming across a program on the Discovery channel and we’re talking about how the design for the stealth airplane/bomber, was derived from the silence of the owl when it flew. The owl is the only bird that can fly through the air and their wings do not make a sound as they do. This, I found out was because of the shape of the feather tips of the wings. Because of the design of the wings, the owl can sneak up on its pray before the pray has a chance to hear them coming.
I thought this was quite interesting and it turned out to be a bit of information that ended up coming in handy!
I wanted the owl to have the feel of an airplane, yet keep its owl-like appearance at the same time. The brass in the wings represent the tips of the owl feathers but at the same time it was made to look somewhat like the ailerons on the stealth bomber.
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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