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It's not every day an artist's work ends up in the collection a world leader. It's even rarer for it to be the artist's very first creation.That's just what happened to Doug Maracle.Maracle discovered his artistic talent by accident about 30 years ago."I didn't know I could do it until I was in my thirties," he said, explaining the discovery came when he spied a neighbourhood child with a piece of soap stone that had come from and old fireplace.Maracle decided to try his hand at carving the soft stone."I carved a little coonskin cap on the top," he said. Deciding someone should be wearing the hat, he carved a little man wearing buckskin carrying a Kentucky rifle.That sculpture now belongs to the Premier of France.The King of Belgium, his Royal Highness the Aga Khan, The Deputy Premier of the People Republic of China, the Chairman of the Board of Johnson & Johnson are also owners of Maracle's works. He's also created several stone sculptures for the National Museum of Man, in Ottawa.
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Doug is a Mohawk Indian, Bear Clan, who was born in Six Nations; He's lived in Sherkston since 1945, but said it took a little while before his hometown discovered his talents. "I've lived around here all my life," he said, "I was known all around the world years before anyone here knew what I did. "About 25 years ago Doug showed his work at the Port Colborne Library. It was his first show in the area, and there have been several since. A current piece “ Coming Out of Time is carved from a large chunk of Basswood, depicts natives canoeing on tumultuous waters. Their features are exquisitely carved, showing the strength, determination and concentration required to complete their task. Doug left half of the block of wood uncarved resulting in the feeling the characters are stepping out of time. Maracle said his work depicts "feelings" that come to him. Capturing those feelings is no mean feat. "If it's coming fast, it's hard to catch it," he said. Doug also said it's not unusual for him to start on a piece at 2:30 a.m. and continue working on it until 10:30 that night. His sculptures are most often carved from Basswood or soapstone, though he has worked with bronze, using the lost wax process.
When sculpting, Doug's knowledge and love of history often comes into play. Whether the sculpture depicts a Mohawk Indian or a trapper from Quebec, he pays close attention to the details, especially in the weaponry. "It's got be exact,' he said, "I like to include all the little screws and details that allow a gun collector to recognize a weapon.Doug's talents aren't limited to sculpture either. Many of his works are created with acrylic paint and ink. The decision to try his hand at painting came from a desire to depict weather. "You can't put fog in a sculpture, but you can in a painting," he said. Maracle's ideas come to him in different ways. Some ideas come in the form of dreams, others as he's out walking.