Dubliner, Grant Mac Ewan, is showcasing the extraordinary Stainless Steel Rugby Ball at Art Source in Dublin’s RDS next week – after a show visitor challenged him to create it at the same event last year.
The sculptor and former sailor from Portmarnock uses nautical shapes and themes as a basis for marine-grade Stainless Steel works, including outdoor fires and Garden Art.
But, he never thought his skills would extend to the Rugby world.
“A visitor to Art Source last year said that he didn’t sail, but loved rugby, and asked if it would be possible to make a rugby ball,” says Grant.
“Working with Stainless Steel to produce complex curves isn’t easy as it tends to want to bend in one direction only – but I was happy to take on the challenge”
“The ball, which is exactly like a size five standard rugby ball, is already receiving a lot of attention and has led me in a new direction which I’m excited about.”
Grant switched careers from boat fitting to sculpture after his business was hit by the recession.
But the owner of Grant Designs hasn’t quite left his love for the sea behind, incorporating the fluidity and grace of waves and sails into sculpture which he will bring to Art Source.
A former instructor on the national sailing training ship, Asgard II, he said that although a love of seafaring will always be in his blood, his passion is now in sculpting.
“I’ve worked on boats from a young age. I was delivering Asgard II to Holland once and I told my mother I’d be home in two weeks. I came back a year later because I got the chance to sail it to Australia!”
“I exhibited in the National Botanic Gardens for five years and when I started creating botanical-themed pieces, I realised that a leaf had the same curve as a sail. From then on I merged nautical and botanical themes in my work”