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“eighteen kakivaks” ulu bowl



There was a time where I made a number of the ulu bowls, and while they were great fun, I had rather got to the point where other things were speaking to me more. So, while not planning to make another — I changed my mind when I found a piece of silver big enough to make this one. I knew I had enough scrap silver to melt down to make the ingots (from which the ulus are made).

I decided to use brass for the connection between the ulu blades and the handles as I knew it would be a great contrast. With the metals being as thick as they are, I was able to make nice thick handles, which allowed me to inset the brass portions into the wood. In turn, this let me exclude the rivets that would normally be used to attach the silver to the brass and the brass to the handles…and this gave me this very clean look that I was planning for.

With all of my earlier bowls, I had generally made them very shallow (meaning that from the outside edge to the center the bowls had a very slight decline). With this one I decided to have the bowl quite a bit deeper (where the drop from the outside edge to the center is much steeper). I had thought that this would give the bowl a better look and feel visually — and am really pleased with how it came out.

I might add that I have never made an ulu bowl of this size and weight before. I ended up using 20 ounces of sterling to get the blades — and another 16 ounces to make the bowl. The complete piece may be small in size…but it has an immediate noticeable weight to it.

When it came time to put the etch on (the fun part!), I decided on kakivaks (fishing spears) on both sides of the blades and arctic char on the inside of the bowl. I wanted to do this for the very simple reason that a kakivak is used to catch fish…and I really like fish, especially char! As I painted the pattern on, I could just see all those char and the kakivaks laying on the rocks on the beach. Very tasty!

—Michael Massie

Other available artwork you might like by Michael Massie:

Michael Massie

Michael Massie


Inuit, Métis

Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

(1962- )

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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Spirit Wrestler Gallery

101-1669 West 3rd Ave.
Vancouver, BC
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