In the very beginnings of my work in silver, it was the ulu design/shape that first caught my attention. Today, working towards my show, I wanted this teapot to capture as much of the actual classic shape of the Ulu as possible.
When I first drew up the design for this teapot, it was much more complicated and congested with heads for the lid and spout handles. In my drawings the design gradually simplified and the focus became much more towards the relationship of the shape of the pieces and how the handles (including the main handle) related to the overall form. I kept going with this simpler approach to design when it came to the lid and spout attachments, and flattened the tips of the spout and lid to match them in appearance.
As for the title, that came to me one night while in the studio. I had looked up what number this teapot would make to date (I keep a record of each silver piece) and it is #83 — and it also turns out that this teapot is the 38th piece [completed] for the upcoming show — therefore “8338.” (I almost wrote the title as: “eigh-tea three thir-tea eight” but, because I was going by the numbers of the pieces, I simply went with the numbers). I also had palindromes in mind when I came up with the title, and at first had thought of writing different palindromes all over the teapot — but in the end decided against that idea. Instead, etching the names of all the pieces completed to date for the show on all the sides of the teapot — sort of a record inside a record — perhaps somewhat similar to a palindrome.
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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