Monday, December 17, 2012

Katie Ohlke's Tom Thomson Paddle Art

Katie Ohlke of Stone Ridge Art Studio  has created some wonderful paddle art reflective of the historical impact of Tom Thomson in Canadian Art. Below are some pics of her paddle creations. The first is an evocative piece that carries some of the mysterious symbolism of Thomson's death on Canoe Lake in 1917. Thomson's facial profile is carved into the blade and the base of the grip is wrapped 17 times with copper wire.

 The Backstory: When his overturned canoe was found floating on the lake, one of the two paddles he carried was lashed to the thwarts for portaging...the other paddle was missing and never found despite a thorough search for weeks after. Wood paddles float so finding it shouldn't have been much a challenge according to search parties. When Thomson's body was discovered some distance away, a large wound was found on the side of his head while his left ankle reportedly had 17 wraps of fishing line tied in a very deliberate fashion. All this created the suspicion of the paddle used as a murder weapon thereby adding to the mystery.

K Ohlke's Thomson Inspired Paddle


Closeup of the copper wrapping

Thomson was famous for capturing scenes of the Canadian landscape, especially rugged depictions of coniferous trees, like pines. Katie's other paddle showcases these majestic trees with the crown of the tree carved from the blade. There's just enough bend in the shaft to evoke the natural growth of shoreline trees and give an otherwise static paddle the illusion of life...

K. Ohlke's Pine Paddle


In addition to these paddles, Katie has done some marvelous painting inspired by historic photos. This photo, one of the few showing any details of Thomson's personal canoe (assumed to be a Chestnut Cruiser dating from before the 1921 Chestnut Factory fire ), is one of my personal favourites. Here's Thomson setting off for a journey into the bush....



Here is Katie's wonderful modern day interpretation entitled Day Trip from Artists Camp...



For more info on these and other works by Katie Ohlke, check out Stone Ridge Art Studio and her Facebook page





2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Katie's art is Canadiana at it's best!

Mike said...

Great post....

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