“Initially I had planned to have the kayak on a green serpentine base, but I decided to change it because it seemed too heavy for the lightness of the kayak. I wanted to use a piece of baleen instead as I really liked the natural colours in the baleen as they reminded me of the sea. I decided to have the kayak going up the curve of the baleen, rather than down, to give the impression of the kayaker straining forward paddling up the wave. As much as the baleen was a great idea in theory, it was more difficult in practice to cut the baleen to make the irregular shape of the kayak fit properly. I did an approximate cut out of the kayak but then I had to skim and sand the baleen very carefully to make the kayak sit exactly right in the water. The fibrous composition of baleen makes the edges fray and splinter and this meant I had to work very carefully.I really had trouble carving the wake of the kayak because this required even smaller cuts in the baleen. It was also difficult carving the harpoon so thin as it became so fragile to drill a tiny hole in the harpoon head to thread though the sinew rope. Also making the paddle fit and line-up exactly in the kayaker’s hands took some time. This sculpture was all very time-consuming to make when it would have been too easy to glue the kayak on top of the baleen. I just liked the idea of being able to look from underneath and see the bottom of the kayak breaking through the surface of the water.”
Billy was born on July 7, 1978, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. In his early years he travelled eastern Canada residing and schooling in Ottawa, Yarmouth and Halifax in Nova Scotia, then at the age of thirteen returned to live in Goose Bay. He now lives in North West River in Labrador and enjoys fishing and hunting on the land with his family.
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