Home Place is comprised of used and discarded hydro poles. I have
carved into these poles images of characters and symbols from world mythology
and legend. These were, then, installed along Pickering, Ontario's waterfront
Home Place became a reality as a result of the coming together of three,
seemingly, unrelated events. Event one occurred roughly seventeen years
ago. While "day-cationing" with the family in Northern Ontario, I came
across a huge pile of used hydro poles. They were left in a field to rot.
I commented to my wife that there must be something that could be done
with all that wood. She threatened to break both my legs if I stopped
the car to take a look. Though the memory lingered on, I did not stop.
The second event occurred some years later while visiting Germany. There,
I was touched by the beautiful walking trails. This resulted in my becoming
involved with the waterfront trail revitalization program upon returning
When asked by our mayor for suggestions as to what we in the arts could
do to beautify our waterfront and trails, I immediately suggested that
we recycle some of those discarded hydro poles out rotting in the fields
and carve in them images that would reflect the cultural diversity of
our community. When all the laughing stopped and the committee realized
that I was serious, I was asked to put together a formal proposal which
would address concerns such as weathering of the wood, vandalism, safety,
environmental issues etc. to name but a few. This, I did to the satisfaction
of the committee, of the city and of the province. The residential and
business community warmly embraced the idea.
What intrigued me then and now is how supportive the residential and
business community proved to be in making Home Place a reality.
They willingly offered products and services free of charge. There was
an incredible amount of good will exhibited towards the project. Ontario
Power Generation, Hydro, offered the land on which to install the project.
The land, now a park, is a reclaimed waste disposal site. This was quite
appropriate as Home Place is constructed almost entirely (ninety eight
percent) of recycled materials.
Varidian Power Connections not only provided the used hydro poles, but
as well, the five man crew and powerful machinery necessary for their
transportation, and installation once the carving was complete. The Dremel,
Makita and Giles tool companies donated tools and repair services. The
Durham Region District School Board provided workspace at one of their
high schools. As well, students and staff at that high school, Dunbar
ton high school of Pickering, helped in the carving of the sculptures.
Fine artists are notorious for concentrating their senses solely in and
on their area of expertise. I am no different. However there were certain
times during the creation of Home Place when I pretended that I
was blind. Many works of public art intended to stand and be noticed.
This public work certainly does that, but I wanted it to be used.
Often the creation of a sense of place means finding and defining space.
Home Place seeks to add to that space, timelessness through form
and an enchantment and magic through myth and lore. During this Speaking
engagement, I would like to share via slide show, photographs and discussion
some of the feeling, thought and innovation that coalesced to make Home
Place the reality that it is today.