This Communion Chalice was commissioned by two long time members of Haliburton’s St. George’s Anglican Church in memory of their parents. The chalice is an exact replica of a traditional communion chalice that was in St. George’s collection and had been irreparably damaged. I enjoyed the technical and artistic challenges of raising the cup, base and knob from a flat sheets of silver to be the exact shapes and dimensions of the original chalice.
Watch the slide show below of how I raised the chalice from a flat sheet of silver to be an exact replica of the original damaged chalice.
The Hidden Ones explores issues relating to social anxiety disorders through figurative shadow boxes. I chose the poses of the figures to reflect the idea of, “I will allow you to see me, but there are parts of me that I choose to keep to myself.” Through these pieces, I was exploring personal themes related to deaths and struggles of loved ones and close friends.
“How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see.”
Bob Dylan “Blowin’ in the Wind” 1962
This line from Bob Dylan’s iconic song could have easily been written about society’s attitudes toward mental illness. The Faces of Anxiety was my thesis project at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU). Many people suffering from mental illness do not get the help they need because mental illness is often dismissed and ignored. The project focused on one particular group of mental illnesses, called General Anxiety Disorders, through the creation of three masks.
Generalized anxiety disorders are some of the easiest disorders to dismiss. It should, however, be understood that mental illness is an illness like any other medical condition and should not be feared or ignored but understood, diagnosed, and treated.
The Faces of Anxiety
As many as two thirds of people suffering from mental illness do not get the medical help they need,  and anxiety disorders are one of the most common forms of mental illness. Anxiety disorders are diverse. They can be rooted in a fear of a specific situation, for example a fear of public speaking is called Glossophobia. Some suffering from an anxiety disorder called Agoraphobia can be completely debilitated by their fear of the outside world and are not able to leave their home at all. These types of anxieties are commonly called General Anxiety Disorders or “GAD”. Health Canada estimates that the cost to the taxpayer is about $4.7 billion annually in direct health care costs for these disorders, making mental illness the third-largest direct budgetary cost to the health care system and it is growing. Health Canada estimates that general anxiety disorders are increasing at a rate of 12.2% per year which is greater than disorders like schizophrenia and eating disorders. General Anxiety Disorders (GAD) can be, and most often are, a constant problem for those who suffer and may go undiagnosed for years before being correctly diagnosed and properly treated. The biggest problem is that most general practitioners are not trained to recognize the presence of GAD in their patients and most often misdiagnose their patient’s symptoms as another medical condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies or even high blood pressure. This causes a great strain on the medical system with unnecessary tests and the use of medical facilities which cost millions of dollars each year.
The Faces of Anxiety
I chose to represent three stages of anxiety. Those being the beginning “Turmoil” where there is confusion and a lack of understanding by the sufferer. The midpoint “Wave”, where irrational fear set in. Then “Caged” where anxiety is at its height and the suffer feels out of control of their emotions. I stopped there because this is where the journey to recover begins for most people. The faces are meant to enlighten non suffers and suffers alike, and enable them to have common ground upon which to start a dialogue that may lead to a better understanding of the problem they both face. For without knowledge there can be no moving forward and change society’s attitudes toward mental illness.
The Faces of Anxiety
 Dylan, Bob. “Blownin’ in the Wind.” The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Columbia Recording Studios, 1962. CD.
My “Metamorphosis” series evolved from moving to the rural environment of Haliburton County from the urban environment of Toronto, Ontario. This piece started out as a much more formal work with straight lines and a far more rigid base, but as I accumulated the found objects to build the pieces with, they began to take on a life of their own, evolving not necessarily in the direction I had envisioned. My observations of the natural life-cycles of the Haliburton forest around my studio were influencing my work and perception.
The pieces evoke the concept of ecological succession. I found that the flat slices of granite in the base of the piece, part of the Canadian Shield, reminded me of natural devastation. The mineral malachite then began to resemble the plants and low shrubs that would start to grow on the rock. I chose branches that had been stripped of their bark and had been lying on the forest floor for a long time – I positioned them on the rocks to show life beginning and ending in the rock, the growth always returning to the earth. The last element was the silver component. I tried to capture the idea of new growth from decay – polished, “new” life rising out of the wood.