This piece came about as a direct response to a request to a number of silversmiths to get people interested in the art form again. The exhibition that featured these works was titled, “Moving Metal” and was shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario in May of this year (2013).
Each of the artists approached had to start with a sterling silver disc — no larger or smaller than a six-inch diameter — one could do anything one wished, but this was the common starting point. With the process of silversmithing being the main idea — and with the limit of 6-inches to work with — I went with a shape that ended up looking like a jar. As the hammering and forming continued, I was trying to think of what I could do with this piece to make it more interesting and to express a little of that dry humor I so like!
Once I achieved the desired shape, I then had to think of what else could be added to make it something more than a jar, but keeping the word “jar” in mind. As I often do, I got out the dictionary to check things out, and this is what I came across: “jarred, jar-ring. v.t. 1. to cause to shake or vibrate; cause to move suddenly by impact or shock, or unpleasant effect on: The sudden clatter jarred her nerves.”
That appealed to me, so from there I went with the idea of something being startled… and in having the right expression to go with it. As it turned out, after some drawing, I came up with this image. An Owl, because of the wings and how they can be outstretched. The head was next — and I ended up choosing a billiard cue-ball, which I have held onto somehow for 35 years. I had obtained it when a hotel was getting rid of a few pool tables and I took one as a souvenir… always knowing that I would use it “one day.” It fit just right, and there it was… the main components were now chosen! I found the head was a bit too plain with just the eyes and the beak, so I decided to add some head feathers in silver, which are sticking up because she has been ‘jarred’ by a loud noise next to her!
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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