August is Saanich Peninsula sculptors’ month to shine

Artist Paul Harder talks bronze sculptures and about two other sculptors’ shows at the Sidney Pier Hotel.

Artist Paul Harder works on a set of cranes in clay

This week marked the opening of the Vancouver Island Sculptors Guild Show and Sale at the Sidney Pier Hotel. The show will feature more than 40 artists contributing over 80 pieces for display and sale.

The show is running in conjunction with the Artist in Residence Program, which features various artists demonstrating their work throughout this month, changing each week.

One of the many artists who will be present is Bronze Sculptor Paul Harder.

Harder specializes in west coast wildlife and functional coffee table and dining room table designs, doing lots of marine life, birds and animals.

Harder first began his journey into art in high school, doing sculpting and clay. He got serious about it 15 years ago, later developing it into his full-time career.

“I always had a passion for sculpting and clay and then about 15 years ago I switched to bronze instead of clay,” he said, adding that he started out in ceramics sculpting and then evolved into bronze sculpting.

Why the switch to bronze?

“Well bronze is magic,” he said with a laugh. “Bronze lasts forever and bronze is a very interesting metal, it’s got quite an appeal to it.”

He added that bronze is tactile and durable.

“It’s a beautiful metal and that’s the legacy of our artwork throughout the thousands of years on this planet is bronze work for the most part.”

As a self-taught artist, Harder learned by sharing information amongst other guild members and artists in the field and workshops.

His favourite piece and his biggest specialty is the octopus, which he sells throughout North America and Europe.

“I’m a diver and I love octopus. I’m very passionate about them and they’re fairly interesting,” he said.

The Vancouver Island Sculptors Guild Show runs until Aug. 20 each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pier Hotel. The Artist in Residence program runs until the end of the month throughout the day.