Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Mussell Shell


  • Medium: glass (blown and sand-carved), pounamu (New Zealand jade), pāua (New Zealand abalone)
  • Size: 36 × 8.5 × 14 inches (incl. base)
  • Reference Code: PL70912

The shape of the sculpture was based on a traditional Tlingit mussell-shell rattle which frequently featured killer whale designs — so I chose to stay with tradition on this piece.

Preston Singletary

The mussel shell can be viewed with different meanings. A political view could reflect on the New Zealand Government’s Foreshore Seabed Act, with Maori losing their customary rights to fishing the seabed. I think it is about the act of hunting and gathering with whanau (family) and learning to take only what is necessary for survival. The resources of the sea are needed to sustain future generations. The need to conserve refers to all resources beyond the sea including nature, the birds, animals, forests and pounamu (jade) to name a few.

Lewis Gardiner

Preston Singletary / Lewis Gardiner

Preston Singletary / Lewis Gardiner

Collaboration for the Fire & Water: Pacific Visions in Glass and Jade exhibition, 2007.

Collaborations between great artists are historically rare, despite frequent attempts and enthusiastic interest to bring technical skills and artistic chemistry together. In the end, it often seems that personal careers, distance, and other issues make these projects too difficult to realize. What makes this particular collaboration even more remarkable is that the two artists are geographically in different hemispheres — almost at polar opposites of the world.