As proud canadians, Jacknife has set out to create a platform for promoting our homegrown artists and celebrating our culture in a fun, humorous, tongue-in-cheek way. Since everyone can use a little good luck once in a while, what better way to extend our love of nation and art than by applying our talents to bringing good fortune into the homes of our compatriots near and far.
Our goal is to celebrate the Canadian spirit while establishing this national good luck charm as the quintessential symbol needed in every Canadian home, restaurant, store or local doughnut shop.
The Irish believe the four-leaf clover brings good fortune. The Germans see the pig as a symbol of prosperity and well-being. The Japanese have the famous Happy Cat for good luck. Around the world people revere horseshoes, rabbit's feet and coins. But how do Canadians get lucky?
Toronto-based design agency, Jacknife has set out to bring Canadians good fortune by creating a series of individually numbered, limited edition, ‘lucky beaver’ sculptures from different Canadian artists. Inspired by the traditional Japanese beckoning cat, “Maneki Neko”, the Lucky Beaver represents all things Canadiana wearing a bib of Canadian flora (with an acorn, oak and maple leaves) and holding a teeth-whittled log carved with the bygone national greeting “Chimo”.
Up first in the series of artworks is Ontario sculptor Nicholas Crombach’s take on the flat-tailed good luck charm which he has hand-sculpted in clay and then cast in resin lacquered with industrial paint in Jacknife’s signature yellow. This exquisitely detailed objet d’art is representative of Crombach’s distinctive contemporary sculptural style which juxtaposes humans and nature in a serious tone brought to light by subtle humour.
Nicholas Crombach is a visual artist working primarily in sculpture. Crombach graduated from OCAD University’s Sculpture and Installation program in 2012. He exhibits his work in a variety of gallery exhibitions, project spaces and sculpture gardens. He is the recipient of awards which include the Hayden Davies Memorial Award, the Samuel Lazar Kagan Award, an Abraham and Malka Green award, and a BMO 1st Art Nomination. His work has been seen at Angell Gallery, Word On The Street, Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, and Whippersnapper in Toronto, most recently Crombach’s sculptures have been featured in Figurativas 15 at the Museu Europeu d’Art Modern in Barcelona and in The Salt Spring National Art Prize at Mahon Hall in Salt Spring Island British Columbia. In 2012 Crombach executed a public art commission, Billy, Nanny, and the Kids, located in Burlington Ontario.
Crombach starts the sculpture using a firm oil-based clay on an aluminum armature shaping and perfecting the figure of the beaver with his hands as well as wooden and metal modelling tools.
At the point of finishing the original clay sculpture he goes to work creating a mould by brushing silicone rubber on the sculpture in layers keeping in mind division points for separating the mould afterwards. The silicone rubber solidifies and a rigid plaster layer (mother mould) is created to give support to the silicone rubber. This is followed by removing the plaster mother and separating the rubber at the division points to ready it for the resin castings.
To make each resin casting Crombach pours a polyurethane resin and marble dust mixture into the mould. Once the resin is cured the mould is pulled away from the hardened resin revealing the casting. Next the artist uses a Dremal and sanding tools to do "finishing work". Finally, the sculpture is coated with industrial grade yellow lacquer to complete the piece of art.