After more than 40 years as an artist, Margery Torrey has sculpted a myriad of subjects. She’s done pigs, puffins, and people. She’s created eagles and antelope. She’s designed a full-on steeplechase scene with multiple horses racing for the prize. Until last summer, however, she had never sculpted a sailboat.
Even so, she didn’t hesitate to accept the commission when it came. It was a request from the children of a dear friend and was intended to be a gift for their father’s 85th birthday. “When she asked me about it, his daughter said, ‘We know it’s not what you usually do,'” Torrey says. “But I told her that it’s not what you do so much as how you do it, and I’d be delighted to sculpt a sailboat for them.”
Torrey approached the project much like she approaches all of her sculptures: as a problem in need of a solution. “It was a very tough problem for me to solve,” she says. “I borrowed a couple of techniques from architecture—like achieving a sense of scale by adding a few figures on the boat. And I used some painters’ tricks, too, like putting the most detail in the cabin area and leaving the sails rough to create more energy. You’re trying to make an object fun and interesting to look at while letting your viewers’ eyes fill in the details.”
“The expressive joy of horses running free.”
“Living on the Wind River Indian Reservation, I have had the privilege of witnessing ceremonies and stories, like this one of a vision quest.”