In all my previous ulu bowls there have always been three ulus: One for the father, one for the mother, and one for the child. This time I decided to just have the mother and father. Just like it was “in the beginning”!. The idea of the kudlik being held up by the ulus still signifies the support each one has for the other, but with this one we see just two ulus and a man and woman on the inside of the bowl.
This is the story of a man and woman — they have just started to live on their own and he has proven to be a great hunter/provider and she has proven to be a great seamstress, making the finest clothes from the finest furs that he has provided. It is the early part of spring and she is pregnant — we know this by the three birds in the top right edge of the bowl, going back to three as the representation for family. They are happy and look forward to becoming parents. I’ve pierced out fish shapes in the blades of the ulus to show the wealth beneath their feet.
In order to get the colour (patina) on the copper, I let the piece sit in kitty litter and ammonia for 44 hours. The kitty litter was for texture and the ammonia is for the colour. It was just the copper that sat in this solution, not the antler.
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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