- Hockey Schtick II
Glass, rubber and spraypainted aluminum
I received a commission for this work from a guy who wanted a wall sculpture for his office space. He had seen an installation of all twelve of my original Hockey Schtick pieces and wondered whether I would break up the set. The space he was envisioning for the sticks was relatively small and he felt that he could only accommodate two pieces. After visiting his office and seeing what he had in mind, I agreed that two sticks would look fine. I said that I would have new ones made rather than breaking up the larger set and also suggested that we should cross the sticks on the wall to give more visual interest. In this way they would look like a hockey display such as you see at the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was excited by this idea and we decided to go ahead.
He left the design of the blades to me saying that anything flashy would be good and I, in turn, gave the job over to a spray paint specialist who did a great job designing them according to my specifications. The shafts of the sticks are made of standard rectangular Pirex laboratory tubing cut to the proper length and sealed at the top with rubber stoppers to fit. The client chose to fill the sticks with two kinds of beer though they could have been left empty for a colourless effect. The sticks are attached to drywall using custom hardware, anchors and screws. They look great where they are and have invited a lot of positive comment.
Bronze, steel and vehicle paint
This work started its life as a collection of plastic objects attached to an 11 foot high section of a poplar tree that I scavenged from a beach on Toronto Island. I hauled it back home by cart (there are no personal vehicles allowed on the Island) and set it down outside my studio where it stayed for some time. I gradually realized that it would look better vertical but wasn’t sure how to accomplish this. As a right side up structure it would fall over. To flatten the root system creating a base would destroy its interest and appeal. So, I finally decided to flip the tree around root side up and after sawing off the three attached branches so that they became a set of legs the piece was able to stand erect. This initial turn around influenced all that came after.
I began to attach plastic objects from my collection to the surface of the tree, experimenting with different shapes and adjusting their positioning until I was satisfied with the arrangement. The completed pre-cast form of the sculpture I now called Gameboy stood unaltered outside my studio for some time. Then one summer day I received a visit from a guy who had heard from my neighbours about my wacky wood sculpture. He immediately fell in love with it being a sportsman himself and decided to purchase the piece for his garden. I explained that the plastic really wouldn’t hold up and that the wood would eventually rot in these outdoor conditions. We decided that the best option would be to cast the whole thing in metal, ideally bronze. I explained to him that he would not lose the colours he loved if we used patina on some of the attached pieces and spray painted others.
Gameboy was cast in parts; the root system was done using the ceramic shell method to retain detail while the legs were sandcast. After casting, the pieces were welded together and then cleaned up using various foundry tools. Several finishes were applied. The bronze tree form was patinaed using a simple liver of sulphur solution applied with a torch. The individual attachments were either patinaed or sprayed with vehicle paint. They were then drilled and tapped and attached using a screw system. The entire piece rests directly on the ground being anchored into cement footings with structural steel through the legs. This piece is made to last; it will stand in the garden for a very long time.