To be very honest, the reasons I made this piece was that I needed a break from working in stone — and I also wanted to see if I could raise a vase better than I had achieved in my university days.
Thanks to a friend of mine, Kenny, I had a good piece of copper to work with. Because the sheet was large, I was able to start out with a 10” disc. This would allow me to have some height, and in turn, this allowed for some interesting form. I knew I wanted a vase, but deciding on the shape was a different story — so I began to look in my Art History books for ideas. I found the ancient Egyptian vases to be quite interesting, I love the slight curves and the bulging forms with the necks that curve in like a woman’s neck.
It took a few weeks to form the shape, design the handles, and to come up with a etching design. As I mentioned to Jo-Ann when I started out with the 10” disc, I had a slight inclination as to what I was going to make. The handles were not that much of a challenge — and as to the design, I already knew the shape I wanted. However, when it came time to etch the design onto the body of the vase… well, that was a different story.
I had no real idea as to what was to be put on, it was a “blank-canvas” at this point. I had had a number of suggestions given to me, but I didn’t really like them. So one night I just sat looking through the Art History and jewellery design books that I have when I came across, Gustav Klimpt’s Expectation: study for the wall mosaic in the dining room of the Palais Stoclet in Brussels (1905-09). I remembered this image from my Art History days, and I noticed the pattern being very similar to the handles for this vase that I had already made. That was all I needed, so the etching started.
When all was said and done, I sat back and had a look and found that I am quite pleased with this piece. I proved to myself that it is still there (the raising process, that is) and the etching came together better than I had first expected. I think this may be the first of many vases — and there were a number of things I learned from working on this one.
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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