Three dimensional cowhide and wood with steel wire construction
I was driving home from town one day and I glanced up at the leaning tower that looms over the pine and cedar bush and saw three vultures drying their wings on the railing. I had no camera with me, so I rushed home, grabbed my camera and rushed back. I found the vultures were still there. So I managed to get a couple shots of them conducting their morning meeting, before heading off for a day of soaring and scanning the ground for dead carcasses to consume.
Close up of the vultures on the water tower railing
Made of wet formed and painted vegetable tanned cowhide
24"x 22" cowhide on plywood, acrylic paint, dye
I always said that I would never make a leather sculpture of a big brick house.
Because of the bricks.
But I did. I was commissioned to make a wallpiece of my former neighbours Edwardian brick house, as he was moving away after having spent 27 years in it. It took me months because I could only stand to work on the bricks for a few hours at a time. Each one is individually hand carved and painted.
The only items that are not made from leather in this piece are brass door handles and the arm of the big lamp over the back door.
Note the clump of leather Day Lilies out front in the grass.
Three Trilliums (in a leaning water tank vase)
Approx. 4inches diameter x 12-15"tall
Wet moulded, torched and painted Kangaroo hide on copper wire
These trilliums were something I had never planned to make, but I was commissioned to make them for a couple that lives in Australia who were originally from Ontario.
Funny thing is, that the leather that worked best to make them was kangaroo hide, tanned in Italy. As I had apprenticed with the lady who pioneered making leather wildflowers, when I was a teenager, I had a pretty good idea how to do it, although I had never tried.
So there is now a bouquet of five Trilliums in Australia, made of Italian tanned kangaroo, hand made in Canada.
A Lesser Murder of Crows
Each crow approx. 5" long
Wet formed vegetable tanned cowhide, copper wire, linen thread
I have always been fascinated with crows after having one as a pet when I was a kid.
These crows have been in the works for a few years. I started the design process, made a couple prototypes then didn't touch them again until a friend saw them in my studio and asked if I could make a few and mount them on driftwood for his mother who loved crows.
This is the result. I now have the patterns and process and subsequently have made several more, mounted on driftwood.
Old Case Tractor
The Old Case Tractor was part of a farm scene I made in 2014. It was based on a farm in Caledon Ontario, where the tractor had been used for many years and had taken over the chores formerly done by work horses. I took dozens of photos of the tractor from many angles to get all the details right. This piece is about 12" long by 6" high.
Approximtely 22" x 16" x 2"deep
wet formed vegetable tanned cowhide, plywood, acrylic paint
This is probably the most complex and difficult piece I have done.
It is also one of my favourites.
It is based on a photograph of the actual house that was given to me years ago.
I wanted the house to be as close to the original as I could make it. There were many hours of pattern making and remaking and remaking to get it right. It is only about 2" deep but looks much more three dimensional, especially around the dormers and the roof due to the exaggerated perspective.
Durham County Barn
Approx 34" x 20" x 2" deep
Wet formed cowhide, plywood, acrylic paint
This particular barn is not any barn in particular. It is a lot of details from barns I have known and loved and photographed over the years.
It reminds me of the barns around the area where I grew up and where I played as a kid.
This barn is just starting to fall into disrepair as many are now.
Killarney Island Camp
Approx 20"x 14" x 2" deep
It took me a long time to feel confident that I could do justice to the Northern Ontario landscape. I had seen too many painters that just couldn't capture the rock and pines and water and I was afraid to attempt it if I wasn't sure that I could do it with confidence.
I spent all my childhood summers on Georgian Bay running free, so I knew what the rocks and trees felt like and looked like. Finally I had an epiphany one day out in the canoe and I knew how I was going to do it. I started out doing familiar places around our cottage.
I have made many Muskoka, Georgian Bay and Killarney pieces and this is one of my favourites. In fact on many of the pieces I use the actual texture of the granite transferred onto the damp leather.
The Cow Palace
Approx. 24" x 16" x 1 1/2"
Wet formed cowhide on plywood with acrylic paint
This is my home and studio. It was originally a livestock sales arena.
This is one of my original Cow Palace pieces and belongs to my son.
This is what the Cow Palace looked like when I first bought it in 2001.
It looks much the same on the outside now, with a few more details.
Homely, but there's no place like home.
Approx 6" x 3" x 1 1/2"
Vegetable tanned cowhide and acrylic paint
A tribute to all the outhouses I have known… this is the classic 'two holer'.
We had a two holer as a backup to our one bathroom when I was growing up in the country. We had a big family.
These are disappearing in the rural landscape just like the barns. Too bad, they are still environmentally superior to flush toilets.
approx. 24" x 12" x 1"
A Northern Ontario shoreline scene with a red canoe. We had a red canvas 14' canoe at our cottage when I was a kid.
I have always been partial to red canoes.
This shoreline could be anywhere along the water in Muskoka or Parry Sound or Sudbury although the pink rocks probably point more to a channel between islands in Georgian Bay, an area I am more intimate with.
32" x 24"
single piece thin vegetable tanned split cowhide wet-formed over rough granite (Canadian Shield)
The split cowhide is wetted in Georgian Bay, thrown wet onto a naturally textured granite surface and forced onto the granite surface by walking over and over the wet leather with bare feet. The piece is then left to dry on the rock, preferably in the sun to speed the drying. When completely dry, the piece is ready to have dye and acrylic paint rubbed into either side, depending on the preferred texture.
The texture on this piece called out for underwater colours and theme.
12"x18" various weights of vegetable tanned split leather
Plywood, acrylic artists colour and dye
An early 19th century loading dock on a small feed mill or a general store. Based on various old loading docks I have been familiar with, where the business of loading and unloading merchandise took place.
Leather reproduces the warmth of the old materials, wood, rusting metal roofing and old stucco.
Small Hinged Jewel Box bright Blue
Small Hinged Jewel Box bright blue
Size 6 inches by 4 1/2 inches
Vegetable Tanned Cowhide, Buffalo hide, dye and acrylic paint
Hand coloured and hand wet formed, small bright blue with hinged lid. Inside lid dark purple/blue, lined with turquoise blue lambskin.
This little box is completely made of laminated layers of leather and has a wonderful solid hand polished feel as well as the smell of high quality leather. It has a lining of intense turquoise lambskin.
Barn with Abandoned Tractor (2016)
Materials: Vegetable tanned cowhide on plywood
Size: Approximately 16"x 22" x 2" depth
A style of sculpture I call two and a half dimensional leather architechture. This piece depicting a typical old Ontario farm that has been left to slowly fall into the ground as the single family farm becomes a distant memory.
I worked from memory with this piece as it did not have to represent an actual existing farm, but a typical barn, tractor and windmill that one finds through out Ontario outside the cities and towns.
Fort McMurray (1) Spring 2016
Materials: vegetable tanned cowhide, water buffalo hide. plywood
Dyes and acrylic paints
Size 12" x 18" x 1" depth
This abstract leather piece was done during the Fort McMurray forest fire that devastated the city of Fort McMurray, Alberta in the spring of 2016.
The images of the fire that were posted on the internet were so startling and so unreal that they affected my work for weeks.
The colours, the texture and the movement as well as the stark contrasts are part of that image.
Old Barn with Round Straw Bale (cowhide) 2017
A small piece (approx. 12" x 15") with integral black leather frame that the barn seems to emerge from.
Based on several similar barns in the central Ontario region circa 1840-1850 that I photographed over many years. Not a particular barn but a certain style. Many of these old barns were built in semi unproductive areas and have since fallen into disuse and disintegration.
I like the juxtaposition of the modern round bale in the foreground against the old style stone foundation. This was one of a series of smaller pieces I made in late 2016 and early 2017.