Tuesday, December 23, 2014

holly-doodle

I always have a piece of scrap metal close by when I’m chasing—it’s a doodle pad, a way to warm up my hand and mind, rehearse a line before I commit to a piece. As I messed around with my holly design, I was also testing my fine liner tool around the border of the metal and modifying the tiny tip, learning about what might make it glide over the surface in the same delightful way that the larger tool does. 

Doodling is always a lot of fun, and suddenly my holly-doodle had become the piece that I needed to obsess over for the next few days.


“Rob’s Holly”. Chasing and repoussé. Oxidised aluminium. Christine Pedersen. 2014.

All done. I feel like one of Santa’s elves: silence descends as I put down my chasing hammer and wander bleary-eyed from the workshop. It’s time to yield to the season, make some cookies, fill the log basket, and crack open a bottle… 

Wishing you a wonderful 2015. 
May your days be bright.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

pioneer spirits

We might still ride horses to round up the cows, but running wild, feral horses are just a competitor for grass and water. 

Surveil. Chased, repousséd, and oxidized aluminium panel in alder frame. 2014.

Alberta has an estimated 880 feral horses (minimum, based on the annual count (1)), descended from animals brought in for mining and logging in the the early 1900’s, and turned loose when the operations folded. It isn’t surprising, therefore, that people are very attached to the horses as a symbol of the pioneer spirit.

Ironically, it seems that feral horses in the developed world are under threat, their need for a share of natural resources scrutinized precisely because we no longer use them to aid our own survival. 

Wild horses must constantly move to find grass and water to survive, and they inspire us because they survive. They need so little, even in such a harsh climate. We use other sources of energy to do our work now—because horses simply lack adequate horse-power. Out of fashion, they are transformed into a different kind of resource: feral horses can be captured and put to any use, or their lives ended. 

Next year’s feral foals are gestating: I am left asking just how inspired we are by our past, and what of their future? 


1. http://esrd.alberta.ca/lands-forests/land-management/feral-horses/feral-horse-faqs.aspx