Thursday, August 8, 2013

More of Willie's Wonderful Work

Last week, just before our AGM, Willie (who installed our portage art sculpture) took us on a boat ride to see more of his work on Otter Lake.

He has a few pieces out front of his own place, marking a shoal in the water, which has been indicated with the usual water bottle markers until recently. He decided if he really wanted people to slow down, he should give them a good reason. And I think he has. (More about this at the end of the post, but first, some great pictures.)

From his lakefront, it looks like there's a swimming party out a bit.

Here's a couple with their noodles.

Deep in conversation - sunglasses, ball caps, the whole nine yards.

A pair of feet sticking up from an old ski belt.

A snorkler with mask, snorkel, fins and NO suit. (click on here to see larger)

And the rare Ontario Crocodile or Alligator - can never get them straight.

Another view of his friendly smile from the front.
Everything is hand carved from foam to float easily on the surface. They are all anchored to the same shoal and run the width of it. Very little possibility of hitting it if you have slowed down for the bobbing art show.

The croc and the scuba diver are articulated so that they move with the water. Well, so do the others, but they are basically bobbing in the wake. These ones have been constructed so that different parts move independently.  The croc has rubber flip flops between each of his spine segments so that they will move like a real croc - the tail actually swishes and goes back to position.

The scuba diver has a metal piece connecting his head to his torso and another connecting his heels to his torso. So, his head moves first when the waves hit and his feet move last. So much fun!!!

In another part of the lake, a larger sculpture that is a bit like a light house crossed with the Statue of Liberty. It has been placed on a private island for the summer and will be taken home again after Labour Day. The American who owns the cottage loves public sculpture and has a lighthouse sculpture at the other end of the island.

On a down side, and something that I certainly didn't know - if you choose to mark a rock or shoal, and it is known that the marker is yours, a lawyer on Otter says that you can be held personally responsible if someone hits that rock or shoal. Can you believe it!!!! This is what Willie has been told. He and his father before him have marked that shoal for 20 years, and the lawyer said that if someone hit it, knowing the marker was his, he could lose his cottage. Apparently, it's consider an "unofficial" marker and therefore personal liability can follow. So, after Labour Day, the swimming party - and the water bottle - will be taken down forever. I guess that leaves fast boaters who aren't paying attention to the mercy of the shoal.

When I asked who is SUPPOSED to mark these dangerous rocks and shoals, there was no answer.
I guess that is a BIG question for another day. And one we should learn the answer to for our own lake.

In the meantime, I think Willie's work IS indeed wonderful. It brings a smile to nearly everyone, save a few people who don't get it.

Cheers Willie.

PS. If you are a fan, and you want to see more, just knock on Willie's door (314 Salmon Lake Road). He'll be happy to give you a tour of the yard, and if you are lucky, maybe even the lake.