All photos courtesy Hilary Clark Cole
Muskoka’s arts community, one of the most successful in Ontario, consists of a diverse array of disciplines. From painters dabbling in watercolours and acrylics to sculptures in metals and other materials, taking the time to visit one of the region’s many artist’s studios is time well spent.
Of Muskoka’s sculptors, few have garnered the kind of nationwide reputation that Hilary Clark Cole has made for herself. Clark Cole’s signature works – impressively realistic, often huge metal sculptures – grace both public and private galleries, as well as some of Canada’s largest business headquarters (Toronto-based Tilley Endurables, makers of the world’s most famous travel hat, just so happen to have one).
Among her most noticeable are life-size interpretations of the area’s wildlife, including bears, wolves and even massive moose. Adding to the overall effect is the weathering that occurs once these life-like sculptures are exposed to the elements and take on the same rusty-brown hues nature has given the originals.
Using welding tools and plenty of custom-made steel components, Hilary Clark Cole’s works certainly cause those fortunate to see her work – whether encountered in the natural, treed setting of her studio or in front of an office building – to pause and reflect. This is especially true of one of her largest works, a huge Muskox that took close to two years to complete. Tipping the scales at an impressive 1600lbs, this majestic creature’s coat, now suitably rust-coloured, took countless hours to make due to the many hundreds of steel strips required to give its coat just the right texture.
To find out where you can view Hilary Clark Cole’s work, visit her website at: www.hilaryclarkcole.com.
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