Harvey Skolnick, sculptor
Sheridan School of Business professor Harvey Skolnick was looking for a hobby that would indulge his creative side when he discovered clay sculpting.
“I was looking for something creative to do – I didn’t want to wait to retire to have a hobby. I didn’t think I could draw and take art classes, but a friend of mine suggested pottery,” said Skolnick.
Skolnick showed pictures of his work to his colleagues at Sheridan and they were quite impressed. This led to his first sale which came from a request from Darlene Davidson to sculpt a figurine in uniform of her son Brandon who was thinking of joining the Canadian Armed Forces at the time.
More recently, Skolnick sculpted a figurine for Darlene’s other son David, who likes playing soccer. He decided to show him in the uniform of his favourite team, Barcelona, also including his dog, peering out from his gym bag.
Skolnick’s next commission was for Golnaz Golnaraghi who wanted a sculpture to celebrate her anniversary. Golnaz said that she enjoyed ballroom dancing, while her husband Bob liked the Leafs. So they agreed that Skolnick would sculpt two figurines, one of Golnaz in a ballroom dress and one of her husband holding a hockey stick and wearing a Leafs jersey. Golnaz says that the sculpture sits proudly in her kitchen and is a conversation piece when people come over.
“The amazing thing about this hobby is how I am getting better as time goes by. It’s nice to look back at my sculptures when I first started and seeing the progression,” said Skolnick.
“I am doing pottery mostly as a hobby as opposed to a money-making venture. However, when I do get a commission, I become very motivated to try my darndest to make something that people will like,” said Skolnick.
All Skolnick’s sculptures are made from clay. When he finishes sculpting a figurine, it goes into a kiln for the first firing. Next, he dips the entire figurine into a clear glaze and then it is fired again. Then he brings the figurine home and it’s time for painting.
“I make most of my figurines for family and friends, but at the same time I like to occasionally have a commission as well. The great thing about this hobby is the happiness that it brings to people. It is one of the most personalized gifts that I can think of that can be enjoyed over and over again,” said Skolnick.