“Perfection of the art is the goal – making money at it is the bonus”
So says Christina Handley, a professional photographer and metal artist who pursues perfection while farming full-time with her husband, Boyd, on their farm near Burnt River, Ontario.
Since 1997 she has created art through the lens of her camera, and success has come through her love of horses, the results of which have found their way to the covers of “Horse Sport” (her first cover) and “Horse Illustrated”, among others.
An artist herself, Handley has always had an appreciation for art across many disciplines – but she says, “I have always loved metal – it is my art purchase of choice”, and eventually it became her medium of choice.
Three years ago, she bought a plasma cutter on a whim, and within four months she was taking orders for her pieces. She started out using – what else? – horses as her subject matter, on everything from round saw blades and old oil tanks to sheets of steel just waiting to be transformed.
As her art evolved, she created mandalas, the intricacy of which are mind-boggling; ranging in diameter from 32 inches to 7 ½ feet, each has its own unique design. Her nature-themed pieces feature leaves, flowers, butterflies, mushrooms and more and range from garden art and home décor to functional pieces like fire rings. Each unique piece is hand-drawn and hand-cut – not a computer in sight.
Old milk cans, stovepipes, shovels, handsaws – any piece of metal is fair game when her creative juices are flowing. She also uses new material but loves when it becomes gilded with rust and weather.
Her inspirations come from everyday experiences – life on the farm with Boyd, their menagerie of animals, and the natural beauty which surrounds them. Her philosophy is borne of being a cancer survivor. “It gives you a more immediate perspective – it tells you that life is short, and it pushes you to do more of what you want to do.”
Whereas the highlight of her photographic career was her first magazine cover, her greatest sense of accomplishment as a metal artist came when she was commissioned to create four metal panels featuring maple leaves, which were installed along the bridge in Fenelon Falls ON.
Handley’s work appears in local art galleries and shops, and most weekends in the summer see her loading up her “Art Cart” and heading off to art festivals and shows throughout the area.
Social media has given her massive exposure and she now ships throughout Canada and the US. You can follow her on Facebook @HandleyAcresCustomCreations.
By Belinda Wilson