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handcrafted wood chairs built by David MacKenzie
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Spiritual Compass - wood sculpture by David MacKenzie
Spiritual Compass by David's workshop
Spiritual Compass by David MacKenzie, Pender Island, BC
Spiritual Compass at home atop Pender Island
small wood puzzles by David MacKenzie
Small versions of Spiritual Compass



David's Spiritual Compass

This piece went through quite an evolution. It began when I was back in Russel ON, saying "good-bye" to a special sister when her son showed me a wooden puzzle he'd made of 3 pieces of 1"x1"x4", all passing through each other. I'm fascinated by puzzles anyways, but I was also intriqued by the clever joinery. Especially because I had run into this situation when building timber frame houses and furniture.

I returned to BC and started making a few of the puzzles and after a while I started making them with different length pieces. Then for some unknown reason I began tapering them. I became more and more intrigued with the tapered shape.

For me the shape represents travel, motion and reaching out. It points to all the directions which we can roam in this realm: north, south, east, west and up and down. If you are not a deep sea diver or astronaut the up and down could represent our spiritual travel. I believe the shape represents hopefulness and reaching out.

Ever since I began making puzzles I have imagined making them in a larger scale; probably fueled by my love of working with large timbers and joinery. An opportunity arose in the summer of '02 to make one with the idea of putting it out in the middle of George's farm field. I thought it was an awesome idea, putting it in all that space filled with buttercups and sheep.

The response was a high point in my career as a woodworker/artist. I'll never forget the feeling when two women friends stopped by Chuck's shop (where I was working) and exclaimed " Did you seee that spikey pointy thingy out in George's field?" And so began the amazing list of names that people gave it. Folks would ask "What do you call it?". But by not giving it a title it let everyone have a chance to tell me what they thought it represented; a wonderful experience for me as creator of the piece.

A friend called it "Dave's spiritual compass" and I thought it the perfect name. Shortly afterwards it was purchased by a David.

I've since made another. Sometimes I feel like Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters of the Third Kind: obsessed by one shape. Perhaps it's the navigator in me. I love making them. Something special happens when I rotate the piece and the angles, lines, facets and planes all shift and align in new ways.

The new one sits out in George's field and I dream of moving it to different locations: the golf course, Brook's Point, the little islet in Grimmer Bay. A community sculpture that moves from place to place, a moving presence.

I look forward to making more in various scales. Perhaps Lyle will build a giant globe to go with one. The obsession continues; stay tuned....

David MacKenzie

Shop: 4435 Bedwell Harbour Road
(by appointment)

PO Box 107
Pender Island, BC, V0N 2M0
(250) 629-3821