Michael Massie’s Artwork Process

How does a sketch become a sculpture? To create his piece Looking Out Over the Big White Hill, renowned artist and master sculptor Michael Massie started with a sketch. Through an extensive process of grinding, inlaying, and sanding, and polishing an extraordinary work of art was created. Watch the video below where the artist talks us through his sculpture making process.

I saw a photograph of a carving by John Terriak. It was a qulliq in the shape of a seal. On his, the qulliq was the bottom of the seal. On one end it had the head and the flippers, on the other it had the tail flippers. After some thinking, I decided to break out my pencil and sketchbook, and decided to draw a design of my own.

I included a head and a body that was in the shape of a qulliq. But I added antlers on the head and I gave it flippers for hands and hoofs for feet. Having a sketch to work with, I began to grind, beginning with the basic shape. After all the grinding was completed and knowing that it’s a three dimensional object, I decided that something needed to be on the back in order for both sides to work together.

Making the eyes first, I laid them on the stone to check and see if they were in the correct position. Then, once the inlay was done and they were in position properly, I decided to work the backside, which was the brass that made up the igloos. With the attachments sanded and all detailing complete, the stone was ready to polish. Using water and wet/dry Emery paper, the stone is brought to a smooth finish.

Having the sanding and polishing completed, the wood and stone are then given a sealant. This is to protect it and also bring out the natural colours.

Because this piece did not come from a story, there was one that I made up when I was working. At the end of it, when my idea was complete and my story was partially done, I did some checking to make sure some facts were actual, which, they turned out to be.

Hi, I’m Mike Massie. Or Michael. This is my piece Looking Out Over the Big White Hill.

To learn more about this piece and the story behind it, contact us at gallery@feheleyfinearts.com.