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Artistry brings winter carving to life

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Earlier this month, local sculptor and artist Derryl May set out to do something a little different on his front lawn on Tenth Avenue North. Starting out with a pile of snow more than eight feet tall, he used a hand saw to start forming a sculpture that would attract the attention of everyone who passed by in the following weeks.

“I did it to make people smile,” said May, noting that he has many people outright stop to take pictures of his front yard. “What is nice about sculpting work outside is that it gives a platform where I am able to share the work with others in hopes that it will be enjoyed and hopefully well received.

“I love to sculpt but I work mainly in clay and sometimes in wood. However, having a nice snowfall for me was just seen as an opportunity to do more of what I love.”

Before starting his outdoor endeavour, May first sculpted a quick miniature out of clay. He said that this is helpful on conceiving the idea and getting a sense of the dimensions, but on a smaller scale.

May then spent approximately four hours shaping the basic form of an owl.

“For me, the owl is symbolic of a life transition and change,” he said. “In trying always to consider the audience, the owl symbolizes knowledge and wisdom, the pursuit of which seems to be a part of the human condition.”

Unfortunately, illness and then warm weather prevented May from fully completing his work of art.

“I had ambitions of finishing the face, as I wanted it to resemble a snowy owl, as well as complete the feet and add feather detail,” he said.

“I was holding out for some cooler weather but, as mother nature is quite unpredictable, I have ended up with substantially smaller sculpture than what I had started with.

“I am generally hopeful, but have to say I will most likely have to let this one go,” continued May. “These days have been feeling more like spring than winter.

“In the future, it would be nice to see something like this done in the park. To bring in a few artists and to have a number of different sculptures for people to enjoy.”

Not the only creative mind in the family, May and his wife Laura run a small business entitled The Artisans Studio where they try to create artwork that is from the heart and that hopefully is as unique as the people who enjoy it.

“We create custom and original artwork both in ceramic sculpture, pottery and painting,” he said. “Laura also offers Reiki as well as Tarot and intuitive readings as a part of this business.”

The duo also hopes, in the near future, to be offering clay classes as a way to get out into the community and hopefully inspire others to create art.

“I will also be hosting an art show this year,” added May. “The dates are not concrete yet, but it will showcase my thesis artwork from university as well as the new body of work.”

Keep on eye out for more information on this once details become available.