I lost my Dad Jan 6 2013 and today would have been his 84th birthday. I have been thinking a lot about how growing up on the farm and being around my Dad has influenced life and my art practice.
He taught me a work ethic that lead to self employment at the age of 23. He taught me how to creative problem solve and how to make the most of what you have. He taught me the spirit of entrepreneurship and how to be resourceful. He taught me about nature and the great outdoors. He taught me to have a sense of humour and not take life too seriously. This is how my Dad influenced my art practice.
Dad did not see himself as an artist but he was in his own right. He was called ” Mr. Fix-it” in our community. The saying went if “Lee can’t fix it -it can’t be fixed”. People from miles around would bring equipment to be repaired. Trained as a machinist my Dad ran his shop on the farm “Lee’s Machine and Welding”. It was always a hub of activity.
If Dad wasn’t fixing something he was designing and building something. One thing I have fond memories of was the motor driven pea sheller. Now that made shelling peas fun! It was a big drum with paddles inside and a shoot. you put the whole peas in and with a switch of the button they would start rolling out the shoot. The leftover macerated shells made great compost! It wasn’t long before all the neighbours where bringing over buckets of peas to be shelled in exchange for a few coins and some cream or eggs.
Another memory is of the dune buggy Dad made out of an old Volkswagen van chassis. Then there was the to scale “Eiffel Tower” with a weather vane on top. The restored John Deer tractor, the metal signs and railings, the motor stands and gear pullers, the rototiller and harrows, the plant stands, and the list goes on!
Aside from that Dad was an award winning wine maker and a great fisherman.
Did I mention he taught me how to fillet fish!
To this day I have a real fondness for metal, rusted metal and metal sculpture. My Dad was an inventor. He always asked “what if”? He was creative in how he fixed things often with limited supplies. He was organized and methodical. He had strong math skills.
I try to bring these attributes to my art practice and to my life.
“Dad you are a hard act to follow!”
Thanks for all you taught me.