Helen Gray

Saddened to learn that urban expansion & development has now reduced habitat suitable for turtles to the point that many species are considered endangered (now numbering 44), Arts Burlington's Helen Gray began an homage to these reptiles through sculpture. A founding member of the Burlington Cultural Centre, which is now known some 40 years later as the Art Gallery of Burlington, Helen makes use of the AGB's facilities as a sketcher, a painter, a potter, a woodcarver, and a sculptor. She creates her realistic life-sized terrapins in clay, feeling that the permanency of that medium best suits the creature's somewhat leisurely reputation.   

Whether in diameters of 12" or about 24", in colours of brown, green, blue, each are given whimsical names such as Turbo, Rerun, Yertle, and Speed Bump. They are suitable for display both indoors and outside. Many are placed outdoors in the summer and brought inside in winter, so that they can be enjoyed year round.

Helen's glazed & fired turtles have belied their image as plodders, by crawling far & wide around the planet. While some have found homes throughout Canada, at least two are now in each of Florence, Italy; Paris, France; & London, England. Others reside in the U.S., with one in AZ, another in CA (bought by a producer who was making a film "The Voice of the Turtle"), 2 in TX, three in New York City, and at least 4 in Florida!