Monday, August 9, 2010

Charlotte's Brian Eccles lives on a bluff overlooking the waters that separate Graham Island from Moresby. A retired engineer, he has been a resident of Haida Gwaii for thirty-five years.

His is a modest house, made of wood and painted brown. To the right is a Japanese garden introduced by a whalebone archway in the shape of the Pi symbol. At centre, a circulating pond filled with water lilies and koi. Surrounding the pond, pines, maples, bamboos, a hearty euphorbia and a gunera. There are some well-placed flowers here and there (including the ubiquitous crocosmia), though many died during the winter of 2008.

Retirement has allowed Brian more time in his studio, where he works in clay and silver. Although self-taught, his ceramics show a range of production interests, from teapots and bowls to more playful items and object d’art, in a variety of glazes. A tile grid decorated with carbonized bamboo leaves impresses.

However it is his silver work that shines; in particular, a series cast from shells, crab claws, cedar leaves and fish bones -- that which he has come in contact with since arriving all those years ago. I am most taken with the salmon vertebrae; the work is remarkable, given the delicacy of the source. I ask to purchase one, and he gives it to me. Then he shows me a pair of earrings cast from halibat otolith. They are gorgeous. For these he takes money.

1 comment: