'On Thin Ice' was a bithday gift commissioned for the incomparable Bob Hansen. Anyone who's ever enjoyed Bob's company counts themself fortunate. I've had the pleasure of working closely with Bob for most of my park warden career. He's saved my ass too many times to count. He's also an acknowledged bear expert, having spent most of his career mitigating Wildlife Conflict in Jasper & Pacific Rim National Parks, Nunavat and Vancouver Island.
My son Jess found the piece of wood that inspired the piece. We couldnt believe how much it reminded us of a polar bear. I've been eyeing it over the past few years, just waiting for the right opportunity to use it. When Bob's wife Adrienne asked me to make something for him, I knew the time had come. Through trial and error, I stumbled on the idea of surrounded it with pieces of boat fibreglass, which reminded me of ice, snow and arctic sea water. It was a serendipitous choice - I had been collecting the small mottled blue pieces of fibreglass over the years. They all came from boat that had been shipwecked off Wouwer Island, in the Broken Group Islands. Ironically, Bob was on the original Search and Rescue call in search of the old sailor who had been living on the boat. Bob ultimately found him along a trail that went across the island, but he had persihed. It gives me goosebumps to think that those small boat remnants found there way to the one guy who was so connected to the original event. Pretty magiical stuff.
I also had another cool moment while fashioning the colourful monafilament netting along the top of the piece. I was stoked by how much it reminded me of the Northern Lights. Just then, the song "Looking for the Northern Lights" by the Bellfast Cowboys came up on my random play. More magic!