Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

“oc-tea-gon teapot”


“Finished this one and took a day off—I decided to help in the house cleaning instead, it helps me to clean out some of my own cobwebs!

“Well, I have to admit that the idea suggested for this piece (the wooden teapot) caused some heavy thinking, being the first of its kind for me and all. It took a few days to come up with something that I knew was both possible and interesting at the same time. To get things moving, I started by going through The Artful Teapot and I was taking note of how some of the pieces were constructed. Some works used beads, bottle caps, broken plates and saucers, etc., and I began thinking how interesting that all was for assembling tea-pots. This is where the use of wood came into the picture.

“I ended up with an octagon design because I was using wood as the main medium. I guess you could say that it resembles a box—and perhaps one that is similiar to a ‘grub box’ that is attached to a kamatik (sled) which holds the food for a trip. The use of the wood was a big reason for this traditional shape—I was thinking along those lines towards this box-like structure. At the same time, the final design became more an octagon rather than a simple rectangle or square, which takes away the ‘box’ feel and gives it an elegance. But, for all of that, it is the stitching with the sinew that helps make this piece interesting.

“So, after spending a great deal of time at the design desk, I was about to start the cutting of the wood and brass. Upon having the sides and top cut and fitting, it was temporarily attached and I was able to look it over. It just so happened that a friend of mine came by the studio and we started talking about the piece. His question was: How was I going to attach the wood and the brass? I said that I was going to glue the wood and for the brass I wasn’t too sure. His suggestion was instead of using glue, which could split due to differences in climate…why not stitch it together? What an idea! My mind began racing—and from that moment I could see more clearly on how to fix everything together.

“I liked this idea for a number of reasons—as the use of glue didn’t appeal to me from the beginning (and I was a bit concerned that the climate could play a role in how the finished piece could be affected), and that the use of stitching allowed me to fix all the pieces together at the same time but allowed for it to be un-stitched if needed. Finally, doing it this way also helped me look at other possibilities for the stitching, for example decorative use in textiles and embroidery, etc.

“Things came together fairly quickly after that. I needed a design for the sides of the tea-pot and it turned out that fish became the pattern. As I was working on the pattern I thought it funny that I was using fish for the pattern … as it seems like every spring that I am working, this is one image that always pops up somehow in my work. Maybe it is my subconscious telling me something!

“At the same time, I began to view the octagon as an aquarium and how the stitched corners created dividers. This began to give me that feeling of when you are looking into a huge aquarium at a large school if fish—who are all travelling in a circular motion (around the body of the pot). The spout and the handle were to be bone from the start and I wanted the spout to be a true spout, so I hollowed it out for the effect.

“My thanks to Kenny Meade for the idea of using the stitches rather than the glue—and especially to Jo-Ann for doing all the stitching!”

Michael Massie

Michael Massie


Inuit, Métis

Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

(1962- )

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.