Mike Spencer
Artist Blacksmith

Aurora for Eileen Kernaghan

This piece, made for Eileen Kernaghan , was the first Canadian national science fiction and fantasy award presented at Halcon under the name of Aurora . Aurora for
Eileen Kerhaghan

This was another case where, sadly, I didn't have the opportunity to read the author's books before making the piece. But since it was also meant to represent, in some way, the broad scope of Canadian imagination as well as to honor Eileen's achievements, I decided to take whimsey as my guide and ambiguity as my companion.

There are ten elements, arranged in a helical spiral beginning with a little object whose only purpose is to point onward and upward along the spiral. It's followed by something that might be a mushroom or maybe a vortex in the atmosphere of Jupiter. Then comes a vacuum tube (or maybe it's a canopic jar from a lost civilization.) The little human figure might be a Reverend Mother from Arakis or perhaps one of the three Norns who spin the threads of fate at the foot of Yggdrasil.

Then there's a, well, probably a radio telescope followed by a dragon. Next comes pillar that might resemble the obelisk from 2001 or maybe it's just a count-down starting-light column from the drag races.

of Aurora for Eileen Kerhaghan Detail
of Aurora for Eileen Kerhaghan

The central panel -- the fortress wall of Gondor? The protective scarp of Shambala? -- bears a Canadian Maple Leaf etched on top of the marks of the forging hammer. A tall, slender space ship follows and, in the center, a what might be a tall pennon or is it a hand, reaching ever upward?

Forged iron, oak, about 14" wide.

A tip of the hat to Robert Whitelaw who made the oaken base. This proved to be a nearly impossible piece to photograph in a way that captured the humor and ambiguity I envisioned. Thanks to Eileen, Anonymous and Graeme in BC who helped with photos.

Created: Mike Spencer -- Fri 26 Dec 2008