Wedge & Dog

8 feet (2.44 meters) high and 4 feet (1.22 meters) wide

730 Pounds, or 331 Kilograms

Materials Used:
3/8” thick 316 Stainless Steel Plate

Techniques Used:
Arc Welded 316 Stainless Steel

The finished sculpture is made completely out of 316 stainless steel.

It is 12 times the size of real wedges and dogs.

Actual Wedge and Dog

The above photograph depicts the actual use of a real wedge and dog.  

Wedges and dogs are used extensively in the construction of steel ships.  They function to help bend flat steel plate onto the curved surface of a ship’s hull.  The dog is welded to the steel plate; the wedge is hammered into the notch on the dog, forcing the steel plate to bend.   Actual dogs are about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide.   Actual wedges are 8 to 10 inches long.  Hundreds, perhaps thousands of wedges and dogs would be used in the construction of a single ship.  

The wedge and dog in the sculpture are 12 times life size.  This was done to accentuate their importance to the ship building process.  

The sculpture is made in homage to the ship builders of Atlantic Canada

What the artist is trying to say:

This piece of sculpture is a simple metaphor for the shipbuilding industry.

The Dog represents the workforce, and the Wedge represents the management. One is dependent on the other. Without management there would be no contracts, financing, and logistical organization. Without a workforce no work could be started or completed. This symbiotic relationship struck me when I was working at the Irving Shipyards in Halifax and Shelburne, Nova Scotia. This conceptual sculpture gives visual context to the relationship between skilled labor and management. I have scaled it up to twelve times life size to exaggerate the concept.

Furthermore, the metaphor analogy may be extended to many situations in life. Teaching for instance, where the dog becomes the student body and the teacher is the wedge that provides impetus, knowledge, and proliferates learning.

Agriculture, is another example, where the dog represents the crops and livestock. The farmer is the wedge that perpetuates the productivity and organization that feeds us all. The concept is very common. The one is dependent on the other for a productive outcome.

Another excellent example is the Music Industry. For instance, where would Justin Bieber be without his promoters and record labels to promote his amazing success? Young, raw, inexperienced talent needs to be organized and promoted by business people who have the experience, connections, and investment capital. This relationship is necessary for success and to make money in the music industry. Justin is the dog, and his promoters are the wedge.

This conceptual sculpture is intended to visually depict the reality of shipbuilding and emphasize the metaphor, or marriage, or symbiotic relationship of shipyard management and shipyard workers.

This piece of sculpture is an ICON of the shipbuilding industry, and I dedicate it to the shipyard workers and managers of Atlantic Canada


Full size plywood maquette for Wedge and Dog.

(Click on any image to see a larger version...)

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