Again wanting to utilize as much of the natural shape of the stone as possible, I came up with this design after some serious looking. I could readily see the walruses on the one side but felt the other side had to have another… but it would also have to be different… with some kind of a twist.
I began thinking of this piece as a mother and father trying to get their young one to sleep. It is story time… and as usual, the youngster is restless. And the father’s bedtime story is about the helping spirit that each of us have — but when two become a couple this changes into something stronger… the “family spirit.”
With the one side I had the smaller walrus appearing to be climbing over the mother walrus. With the other the father is shown but is shown merging with an owl spirit. I wanted the walrus and the owl to blend into one another — and through their facial shapes, it was easy. The shape of the “mask” around the owl’s eyes and the snout of the walrus are very similar. His tusks can also appear to be the legs of the owl. The eyes on this side are opposite because of the blending. Father and spirit are one.
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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