It’s funny how taking a break from it all can clear your mind. When I left recently to go on a family holiday to Happy Valley (Labrador), in my mind I had other ideas for this piece, but on returning, I had another look at this stone and this is the form I saw when it was turned on another end. It was very different to what I have been making lately, and I just had to go for it.
When I first glimpsed her in the stone, I saw the blanket there as well but, after some consideration, I decided that the quilt should be made in metal. I had to wait until all the grinding was complete before I could begin to figure out what size would be needed for the quilt. I liked the idea of the contrast of the brass and the copper because it would have more of that quilt ‘feel’. After rolling the two metals down to the thickness I needed I then cut the pieces out — the quilt had a better visual feeling when I used brass on each of the corners. Once I had the quilt formed, I had to play with how it was to fold to give it that appearance of being draped over her arm.
It was then on to the detailing of her head — because of her size, I was able to get more detail than I usually have been able to with other pieces. I wanted her looking at the quilt with a slight smile, as if admiring her work. I ended up making the hands separate, as this way they had a more realistic feel — and I also I wanted to get a certain shape where she is just touching the quilt with her thumb and the other fingers about to grab it. Her right hand is half-closed to express a gentle touch. Her body shape/form is smooth and simple because I didn’t want to take away from the top section of the piece where the action happens to be.
As it turned out, after I had finished the first polishing, I noticed that the grain of the stone in the back just happened to match her stance — I wish I could say that I had planned it — but it turned out to be a happy accident. I find she has that comforting feeling about her, as she gently holds the quilt and looks towards it in admiration. For her it is the beginning of things to come… this is only the top third of the quilt, there are two more layers after this!
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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