I hadn’t really planned to make an owl, but changed my mind after some consideration on how it could be different from others that I have worked on. In the past I had a tendency to have less detail in the wings of the owls. This time I thought there could be more — to help make those large surfaces more interesting, and was pleased to find this really helped to accentuate the play of light and shadow over the work.
As it came time to make the “mask” — which is really the shape of most owls’ faces — I had, from my reading, come to realize that the shape of the face of an owl acts in the much the same way as if we were to put our hand behind our ear. In both cases, it increases the volume, allowing us and the owl to hear better. But as I worked, because of its shape, I decided to make it into a real mask. I found that I didn’t like the natural copper, so decided to patina it to give it this more aquamarine colour. Then this really became a mask, at least that is how I saw it!
Interestingly enough, many cultures view the owl as the spirit that guides one to the spirit world. As I was thinking on this, maybe this owl just wanted to take a break from all that and was trying to blend in with the others who do not have this power… I guess he needed a break from it all! And from his confident stare, you know that he will convince you that he is not the guiding spirit.
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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