It is in my decorative paddles that I really get to showcase my passion for art-making. Drawing on the natural grains and colours of wood and other natural materials, I develop a new design every year and produce a limited series. These unique paddles are also available on commission for special events and gifts.
I’ve wanted to make this one for a while. I get requests for wedding and anniversary paddles and I think it fits the bill. Steam bent ash paddles with engraving on the blades and laser cut inscription.
Le Gourvernail and L’Avant. 2016 Paddles for some very important roles in steering the ship! Presented to Sophie Gregoire Trudeau Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson on behalf of the Ottawa Riverkeeper. Click here for details.
Solo Carry. 2015 A playful paddle paying tribute to adventure. Click here for more details.
Pole to Pole. 2013
It was commissioned by Geoff Green, director of Students on Ice. Geoff is an incredibly busy man, trotting off to the north and south poles with students in tow to see first hand at how climate change is affecting the polar regions. He was honoured with the Order of Canada for his efforts.
It became obvious to me that Geoff had not kept up with my preamble on the sale of these art paddles when he sent a message asking if we can do an “arctic theme”.
The starting point for this paddle was the map of the north and south poles. They are unlike any other map on the planet with their lines of longitude converging on a centre point and the latitude lines radiating out in concentric circles, forming what appeared to me as a sunrise.
From the unique position of the south pole, everywhere points north; and from the north pole, every direction is south. For this reason, the compass symbol for north is on the south pole blade and south is on the north pole blade.
The white coloured inlay is walrus tusk. Some Inuit hunters still survive on the walrus hunt and the tusk is available from them. Traditionally the Greenland paddle would have a whale bone tip and edges but, with whales being endangered, I chose to use a curly maple and maple burl in its place.
The Fall Series
This series began with a walnut tree that I acquired in Perth, Ontario. That is a story in itself, but the short of it is that I milled the logs and the wood was so special that I left it to air dry for several years, waiting for a project to do it justice.
The paddle is made from that walnut and the maple leaves are from curly maple.
The grain of the maple worked perfectly to match the veins of a maple leaf.
The first of this series went to Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of Canada and it now resides in his office in London, England. The second went to the current governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz as a gift from the Ottawa River Keeper for his contribution to their efforts.
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