The work that I do as an artist is inspired by listening to the wisdom of the land and responding to the hope that I carry for social change.
My home studio in Kitchener, Ontario is situated within the Haldimand Tract, land that was promised to the Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations of the Grand River, and within the territory of the Chonnonton, Anishinaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples.
I grew up on the shores of Lake Superior in Sault Ste. Marie, which is in Robinson-Huron Treaty territory and the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe.
The rhythm of the seasons that I experienced as a child is a significant inspiration for my work as I pay attention to the lessons and beauty of the natural world. I am deeply committed to the work of reconciliation with Indigenous people and I often include symbols of this commitment in my creative process.
My Creative Process:
Working intuitively, I rarely plan a design in advance. I sit down at my bench in my studio and simply allow the creations to unfold in their own way and in their own time.
I am often surprised by the end result, which is always more imaginative than I could have planned ahead of time. Allowing the imagination to unfold, I work with what is happening with the materials and where they are leading instead of manipulating them or forcing them to be a certain thing.
I find this approach has lessons for our everyday lives as well.
I often write down words of poetry or simply the thoughts that arise for me as I create in metal. The combination of creating something that can be worn along with expressing its meaning through words truly makes my heart sing. My hope is that it is a gift of beauty to a broken world.
I love that I am connected to all those who receive my work and am grateful when others find it meaningful in their lives.
My Education and Formation:
I earned a Bachelor of Arts from Queen's University in 2000, a Master of Divinity from the Vancouver School of Theology in 2004, and a post-graduate certificate in Expressive Arts from The Haliburton School of Art and Design (2011). Since 2012 I have been a member of the faculty of this Expressive Arts program.
I first learned the craft of metalsmithing in 2002-2003 when I took several continuing education courses at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. In 2004-2005 I took continuing education courses in jewellery design at the Vancouver Community College.
"Some things are best done in the dark, including the transformation of raw material into tools and pieces of art. There is a smith in our soul who works the failures and successes of everyday life into eternal shapes that make us who we are. It's not extraordinary, this dark place of heat and hammering, but rather an unspectacular scene of hard work. You might think of your dark night as such a place and realize the importance of keeping it stocked and fired and dim. Your job is to provide the setting and let the divine smith do his work."
- From Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.” – Rumi
For information about the anti-racism mentoring that I offer for people with white skin privilege, please see the Anti-Racism page of this website.
If you would like to be in touch then please feel free message me on Instagram @robin.mcgauley.metalsmithing or Facebook @robinmcgauleymetalsmithing